MACLEHOSE, JACKSON & CO., GLASGOW
9 ttblishers to the Snibmttg
MACMILLAN AND CO., LTD., LONDON
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MACLEHOSE, JACKSON AND CO.
PUBLISHERS TO THE UNIVERSITY
GLASGOW : PRINTED AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS
BY ROBERT MACLEBOSE AND CO. LTD.
MY BELOVED MOTHER
JEMIMA ELIZABETH BLACKIE
" One deathless flame, one holy name,
One light that shines where'er I move,
Are thine, out of whose life I came,
Through whom I live and love."
WHEN thoughts of Home have my remembrance stirred,
I see two figures both intent on good ;
A grave apostle reading from The Word,
A gifted Martha watching o'er her brood ;
The Father pouring out the Holy Wine,
The Mother proving human love divine.
The Patriarch with ever fervent tongue
Proclaims the doom that waits the unprepared,
The Mother spreads her wing around her young,
That from the swooping hawk they may be spared ;
The Father tells of God upon His Throne,
The Mother of the Son who would atone.
The Mother who in 111 saw budding Good,
As she in Good discerned a way to 111 ;
And anger named as part of Love's strange mood,
The child's revolt as part of Nature's will ;
Who guided impulse to its proper end
But ne'er could childhood's proper pride offend.
The Father showed the way unto the height,
One path alone, the one his fathers trod,
The Mother left the choice of what was right ;
She knew the pathless cliff may lead to God ;
Though she herself had named the royal road
For those whom Fate appoints to bear a load.
The Father's steps have passed from earth's estate,
Beyond the march that lines the topmost hill.
The Mother's feet are pausing at the gate,
Her backward glance is on her children still ;
Her one great fear before she passes through,
Some thing for them she hath forgot to do.
WITH few exceptions, the verses collected here were
contributed to The Return, the journal of The King's
Lancashire Military Convalescent Hospital, near Black-
pool. Several have appeared in the Graphic, and by
special request two have been reprinted from a small
volume entitled Verses of Consolation which I published
The verses were written during my five years of
service, at such rare intervals as I was enabled to snatch
from the stress of absorbing work.
DEDICATION To MY MOTHER - 5
1. THE FALLEN - 13
2. THE LONE CHAMBER - 14
3. SCOTLAND YET - 15
4. THERE is ONE EVENT - 16
5. A FRAGMENT ... - - 18
6. AN ENGLISH VILLAGE - 20
7. To CAPT. A. B. WINDER - 23
8. AT MELCHET COURT - 23
9. INVOCATION IN WAR TIME - 24
10. A KING OF DREAMS 25
11. IN A SLUM - 28
12. MAGA 29
13. To J. S. CLOUSTON - 30
14. THE NINTH DIVISION 30
15. To F. C. COULTER - - - 33
16. THE SEARCH - 35
17. To MY BROTHER, JAMES WATT WALKER - 36
1 8. THE REV. J. R. HALE - 38
19. CHARLES WHIBLEY 38
20. IN MEMORY LT.-COL. MALCOLM MCNEIL - - 39
21. To MARJORIE IN RETREAT - 41
22. WOE is ME, MY HEART - - 43
23. IRELAND - 44
24. STENTON - 44
25. A CONVALESCENT - - 45
26. PHILOSOPHY .... 47
27. ON THE DEATH OF CAPT. STUART DIGHT WALKER - 48
28. To MAJOR F. W. G. HAMILTON 50
29. A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN - 53
30. CAPT. R. F. HANBURY - - 54
31. To IAN MACPHERSON - - 55
32. THE FIFTEENTH DIVISION 56
33. ROMANCE AND REALISM - . - 57
34. To THE REV. F. A. G. LEVESON-GOWER 59
35. Two CARDNEY SONNETS - 61
36. HOLD FAST .... ...62
37. THE WHITE HORSE INN 65
38. THE ARMY MEDICAL SERVICE 67
39. To MY SISTER 69
40. ITALY 69
41. A LOVER TO HIS MISTRESS - 70
42. ON A FRIEND KILLED IN ACTION - 71
43. A SOLDIER TO HIS COUNTRY - 71
44. To COL. J. S. BOSTOCK .... 72
45. GLASGOW CHAPS ... 73
46. THE INTELLIGENT STENOGRAPHER - 76
47. To MR. SWEETEN - - 77
48. THE FIFTY-FIRST DIVISION - 78
49. THE CHOICE ... 80
50. To MY BROTHER, THE RIGHT REV. JOHN WALKER 81
51. THE HIGHLAND BONNET ... - 82
52. THE ENVOYS OF THE DEAD 84
53. AFTERMATH .... ...86
54. To CAPT. E. B. DUDGEON - 87
55. BRITAIN'S PRIVILEGE 88
56. To H. J. GRESWOLDE- WILLIAMS - - 91
57. THE SCOTTISH FARMER 92
58. To COL. NETTERVILLE BARRON 93
59. To MAJOR ROBERT MCQUEEN 94
60. OLD GLORY 95
61. DEATH ......... g>j
62. A GOLF MATCH 99
63. To BRIG.-GEN. AND MRS. TEMPEST-HICKS - - 101
64. To HENRY JOHNSTONE 103
65. MEMORY 10 4
66. SIR A. LISLE WEBB -.----- 104
67. To COL. H. F. SHEA 105
68. To THOSE AT HOME - 106
69. ON THE DEATH OF J. LOGAN MACKIE - - 107
70. AN IMAGINARY PORTRAIT ..... 108
71. ON THE DEATH OF GEORGE CADENHEAD - - 109
72. THE PAINTER'S AIM in
73. To FREDERICK WILKINSON - - - - - in
74. THE WlTTENBURG CAMP 112
75. BRAVE NIGHT AND COWARD MORN - - - 113
76. THE LONG TRAIL ... ...u 5
77. SIR PETER MACKIE - - - - - - 116
78. To GEORGE MELLOR - - 116
79. MAKING GOOD ---- . . . nj
80. THE ESSENCE OF LOVE 121
81. THE PERFECT DAY 122
82. To JOHN BUCHAN 122
83. WHATLEY - ........ 123
84. APOLLO IN SOUTH SHORE - - - - - 124
85. BENMORE 127
86. LINES - 128
87. IN THE WEST HIGHLANDS - - - - 129
88. AFTER MANY DAYS 130
89. LINES WRITTEN IN MESS- - - - - - 132
90. MEMORIES BEFORE SLEEP ..... 134
91. ARACHNE 135
92. MARINERS 138
93. EPILOGUE 140
The Caledonian Club.
(To J. A. MILNE.)
So long as the Cause be living,
The Fallen are never dead ;
They are the source of our giving,
They bring us our daily bread ;
They are the font of our pleasure,
They are the flesh and the blood,
We draw from their veins the measure
Of all that we name as good.
'Tis only we who can slay them,
The dead that would live for aye,
If there were none to betray them,
By trading their legacy ;
They have no death, though we mourn it,
If we hold fast to their gain ;
The hour when we learn to scorn it,
They die, and they die in vain.
14 THE LONE CHAMBER
THE LONE CHAMBER.
ONE more lone day ! and deep my vision delves
Within the veins of memory to snatch,
Complete, the hour in which you chose to win
The path that led to me ! I hear the latch
A-lifting in my heart to let you in.
You could not know the stranger's door was wide,
The seat prepared, the cup of cheer at hand ;
You could not know what waited there inside.
But swift it seems you came to understand,
And instant fled ; and out into the night
I followed you but you had gone away,
And left me there in deeper sense bereft ;
Too stunned, indeed, to feel an agony.
I searched and found but one thing you had left
And that an implacable memory.
And since I've kept a lamp a-shining bold
Behind the casement of my heart a ray
To tell you that the room is winter cold
Without you. There I sit and lonely wait ;
I put a log upon the fire ; by chance
Should come to you a longing over great,
And you step in, so shy, and look askance,
And wonder if the welcoming be past.
Twill never pass ! Within my clean-swept heart
The chair is ever set, the table spread,
The wine is poured ; and often I upstart
And wonder if, outside, I hear you tread.
SCOTLAND YET ! 15
SCOTLAND YET !
" Furth fortune and fill the fetters."
Motto of the Dukes of Atholl.
(To LT.-COL. RODERICK LAING, D.S.O., Seaforth Highlanders.)
ACHNACARRY, Cameron's pride,
Whose faith is Scotland's weal,
Sends ringing down Lochaber side
The war cry of Lochiel !
Leave gowks to stalks and coofs to dance,
The Camerons are furth to France.
" Dunkeld and Menzies, Blair and Scone,
Hae gane the ways o' men " ;
On Rannoch side the harvest moon
Lights up the harried glen,
From croft and castle, glebe and manse,
The " Forty-twa " are furth to France !
From Inveraray north to Ross,
The flow has run to spate,
From fen and moorland, peat and moss,
Six lads have gone in eight ;
With ache of heart but pride of glance
" Argylls and Seaforths furth to France ! "
By Lochnagar by Dee and Don
See Forbes and Huntly tread ! -
From lodge and sheiling they are gone,
The hungry ranks are fed ;
Each lass seems walking in a trance,
The Gordons gay are furth to France !
16 SCOTLAND YET !
From Dunnet Head to Sands o' Dee,
From loan and mountain pass ;
The Isles are swept from sea to sea
From Lewis round to Bass ;
The pipes are filled, the horses prance,
The Guards and Greys are furth to France
The Borderers from Berwick toon,
The Scots from deep Glencorse ;
The Fusiliers from banks o' Doon,
Light Infantry in force ;
Cameronians look askance
At men who go not furth to France !
For Scotland's king and Scotland's law
They dree'd their weird in turn,
On Flodden Field and Philiphaugh,
These sons of Bannockburn ;
And now its glory to enhance
They fight for Britain furth in France !
" THERE IS ONE EVENT."
I have to die sometime, and this is a good way out."
From a soldier's letter.
(To MRS. ROBERT SKIPWITH.)
I KNOW whate'er the systems I devise
To bring to form the squalour of my soul,
By noble aims and inhibition wise,
" THERE IS ONE EVENT " 17
To make each beauty harmonise the whole ;
That though from Life's decoys I shield my face,
There is from Death's approach no hiding-place.
If for my body's weal I keep from Care,
And hold at bay the wiles of coy Disease,
By pleasures gentle and by simple fare,
Through regulated toil and measured ease ;
That Death will not accept such flagrant bribe,
Nor list to prayer or passioned diatribe.
Though wrecking Fear I drive unto his tomb,
And find the prophylactic safe for Pain,
Or hustle black Depression from the room,
Or scare the subtle devils of the brain ;
What though I flaunt the officers of Death ?
He comes himself to freeze me with his breath.
Though grave selection lead to fittest birth,
A perfect body with the sanest will,
Though I be crowned as king of all the earth,
With Pope and Provost guarding me from ill ;
I know that Death will come to me as sure
As to a mongrel waif whom all abjure.
The seeds of Life are in our power to sow,
As Life achieved is in our power to slay ;
The seeds of Death, which with the life-seeds grow,
The hand of Death alone can take away ;
Life, which must die, springs up where God has trod,
But Death, which never dies, itself is God.
18 A FRAGMENT
(To MRS. ALAN ERSKINE.)
APOLLO wakes ! I hear his muffled yawn,
And stretching golden arms above his head,
Leaps to the cold ablution of the dawn,
From out the rosy blankets of his bed ;
Still sparkling with the dew-drops from his bath,
He fills his empty quiver for the day,
To scare young Frost the poacher from his path,
Or drive old Neptune's choking fogs away ;
With thews of steel he braves the azure waste,
And scatters happy largesse as he goes,
The friendly clouds with moonstone tippets graced,
While fruitful rains are decked with opal bows :
And thus he gains the summit of high noon
Where healing sweat pours down his silken vest,
And kindly rays drip from his crystal shoon
To play his phorminx down the mellow west ;
His course complete, a blazer then he dons,
And, past the twilight, steps towards his tent,
While from her car, the eye of Venus cons
The Queenly Moon float up the firmament ;
With brow majestic, Dian mounts the sky,
And planets proud peep forth and deem her fair,
While rows of idle nebulae are nigh,
Who doff their caps and flaunt their silvern hair ;
Then other clouds kneel down and kiss her feet,
Or tend for courtly service by her side,
A FRAGMENT 19
Though proud Selene's ears list for the beat
Of faithful hearts that throb within the tide ;
Then, sudden, down the void rude mobs appear,
And all the atmosphere electric grows,
While Saturn prophesies of mischief near,
Uranus hears familiar thunder blows,
Then one by one the lattice lights go out,
And timid stars their swinging casements bolt,
While nearer swells the wild unseemly shout,
As if all cloudland were in fierce revolt,
Then through the stour the lightning's claymores flash,
And veins are spilled upon a startled world,
And while the mobs against each other crash,
The falchions gleam and thunderbolts are hurled ;
The Moon, alarmed, has warned the picket breeze
To call the guard ; and now unto the fray,
From out the stables of the winds she sees
The squadrons of the West in full array ;
And as their vanguard sweeps across the sky,
The surging mob goes tumbling down the East,
And to their lairs in hot confusion fly
By blades of wind, the laggard's pace increased ;
Now peace again the deepened azure weds,
And Jupiter proclaims his midnight mass,
And down the paths of dawn Diana treads,
And drops her veil to watch Apollo pass.
20 AN ENGLISH VILLAGE
AN ENGLISH VILLAGE.
(To MY NIECE, MARGARET ELIZABETH WALKER.)
THE hamlet rests among the hills,
With plants upon the window-sills,
And open doors where gossips lean,
And look across the village green
Towards the busy " Dog and Quail,"
Where drivers take their pots of ale,
Or over to the parish church,
Where Parson chatters on his perch.
And slowly o'er the cobble goes
The sexton with the broken nose ;
And Miss Matilda's bitter smile,
The flicker of a heart of guile ;
And Betsy Prim, the banker's lass,
Who sniffs as " common soldiers " pass,
And Tommy Byles, who spends his day,
In taking characters away.
I called a boy to hold the mare,
While children gather round and stare,
And stepped towards the smithy fire,
And looked around for Macintyre ;
But Mac had left his forge and shoes,
To fall with Camerons at Loos ;
And somewhere down by Arras way,
His brother with the Seaforths lay.
AN ENGLISH VILLAGE 21
While idle up the village goes
The sexton with the broken nose ;
And Miss Matilda speaks of war,
And wonders what they're fighting for ;
And Betsy Prim is often heard,
To talk of sinners unprepared ;
And Tommy Byles with dreadful fear,
Complaineth of the strength of beer.
I made a call on Butcher Bill,
Just where the village climbs the hill ;
I looked to greet his visage red,
But found his widow there instead ;
I took the grocer on my way,
His smile was good for times agley,
His daughter said with accents brave,
" He's gone to find my brother's grave."
While careless past the window goes
The sexton with the broken nose ;
And Miss Matilda tells anew,
Of " horrid things " that soldiers do ;
And Betsy Prim goes peeping round,
To see what scandal may be found ;
But Tommy Byles is limping slow,
He hears that he may have to go.
To drive away my air of gloom,
I sought the cobbler in his room ;
His sister told me modestly,
The cobbler slept beneath the sea ;
22 AN ENGLISH VILLAGE
I took the gate to Fanner Gunn,
And asked him of his only son ;
He answered as he turned away,
" I fancy I shall wake some day."
While stolid to the churchyard goes,
The sexton with the broken nose ;
And Miss Matilda's feeling worse,
Her only maid has gone to nurse ;
And Betsy Prim to chapel goes,
The only way to God she knows ;
But Tommy Byles, afraid to think,
Finds his salvation now in drink.
Beside the trench, below the deep,
The village boys lay down to sleep ;
And mothers lie awake in bed,
And wonder if they hear a tread ;
And fathers, ere they turn the light,
Look out once more into the night,
Then climb the stairs, so bravely sad,
And whisper low, " Good-night, my lad."
Still daily up the village goes
The sexton with the broken nose ;
And Miss Matilda's heart of stone
Beats slowly on alone alone ;
But Betsy's maidenhood is spent,
She's wife to one who never went ;
And Tommy Byles, he drives a cob,
For he has got a dead man's job.
TO CAPTAIN ARTHUR B. WINDER 23
To CAPTAIN ARTHUR B. WINDER.
THREE years and half a year and you and I,
In glow and haar, in languor and in zest,
Have hailed each other passing on our quest,
Or paused to tender friendship's ministry,
Shared the free laugh and scorned the dullard's sigh,
And knew the shrinking sorrow of the breast ;
We two, with scarce a common interest,
Except the joy we felt in being nigh,
Had raised our lodge to highest fellowship ;
Such links as we have forged can never break ;
So we may part with some light worded quip ;
For on the unknown fields that each may take,
The hounds of recollection we will slip,
To chase old thoughts and rare good hunting make.
AT MELCHET COURT.
September I3th, 1920.
IN mood dejected Summer treads the year,
Through disappointed dawns and loveless eves,
And for her smiles, oft ravished by a tear,
And for her beauty's base betrayal grieves ;
But as she faints beneath the touch of death,
The Sun looks down with pity in his eyes,
And fanned to flame by his impassioned breath,
She blooms to splendour in a sweet surprise ;
With bosom swelling and with cheeks ablaze,
She springs to love's full heritage of bliss ;
All Nature flushes in a swift amaze !
While Autumn bends her russet feet to kiss
As through the woods he walks with stately ease
To hang aloft his golden tapestries !
INVOCATION IN WAR TIME.
OH God, from whose almighty heart
In fretted waves our pulses leap,
Keep us from faith's despair apart,
When for our fallen ones we weep ;
Have mercy on Thy children, Lord,
And comfort for our grief afford.
The human heart within us palls,
We are too blind to read Thy will ;
When Life's sworn adversary falls
Relentlessly on good and ill,
We strive in vain to grasp Thy plan
Give insight to Thy servant Man !
INVOCATION IN WAR TIME 25
And when within the folds of night
The traitor tears come welling fast,
And hid in terror from Thy sight
We consolation from us cast ;
When ravished of our precious hoard,
Have patience with our weakness, Lord
The father who our footsteps led,
The brother who our help has been,
The husband of the newly wed,
The son upon whose strength we lean,
Are fallen 'neath the hungry sword,
And darkness doth enfold us, Lord.
Teach us the joy of duty done
As compensation for our loss ;
Fling wide the portals of the sun,
And show the crown beyond the cross ;
Let us of selfish grief be free,
And of our lost more worthy be.
A KING OF DREAMS.
(To FELICIA BROOK.)
THOUGH squalid be the paths I tread,
And foul in rascal's rags I go ;
What though I gnaw at beggar's bread
And only pariahs I know ? ;
No limit to my lordship seems,
I reign a king within my dreams !
26 A KING OF DREAMS
My day dreams summon all the earth,
To serve as vassals to my cause ;
All Nature answers to my mirth,
And to my valour lends applause,
But when I summon minor moods,
The world in melancholy broods.
The gnarled old stick on which I lean
Excalibur unsheathed gleams ;
The sceptre of the Fairy Queen ;
Or Moses' rod to conjure streams ;
The rag through which my elbows poke,
Becomes Sir Walter Raleigh's cloak.
As Lycidas I muse apart ;
An Adonais rapture springs ;
A wonder surges to my heart,
Tis Keats's nightingale that sings !
This morning on Parnassus Hill,
I listed Shelley's skylark trill.
Afront my feet the modest flower
That Burns enshrined in deathless fame
The primrose Wordsworth would endower
With meaning deeper than its name ;
And Dora's wreath is in my breast
With Corisander's love behest.
A Dryad's tresses cool my brow,
A Faun is peeping through the brake ;
While Pan must all the air endow
For mine and Aphrodite's sake ;
A KING OF DREAMS 27
Where Hermes' longing eyes caressed
The nursling of Dione's breast.
My care and sorrow hungry mates
'Neath Circe's smile are turned to bliss ;
Penelope in patience waits,
To breathe " Ulysses " in her kiss ;
If Helen's name you call to me
I sail as Paris 'cross the sea.
I tread with Clio in the Halls
Of Academe, her dead awake ;
I lend a voice to ancient skalls ;
The earth Byzantine cohorts shake ;
With Cleopatra I recline,
Then seek Gargantua and dine.
No man or god eludes my whims,
Apollo strikes upon his lyre,
While Cherubims and Seraphims
To Polyhymnia's song aspire,
And David's harp takes up the strain,
And Orpheus' lute pipes forth again.
Though squalid be the ways I tread,
Despised in runnion's rags I go ;
What though I seek a vagrant's bed
And Ishmaels are all I know ?
Imagination brightly beams,
I reign a god within my dreams !
28 IN A SLUM
IN A SLUM.
(To MRS. HUNT.)
I NEVER heard him speak a kindly word,
My tears were answered with a savage oath ;
He drank what we could very ill afford,
He was a bully and a drunkard both.
He broke my body as he broke my soul,
I shivered when I heard his stumbling feet ;
At times the very household " sticks " he stole
To pawn and pay for women in the street.
I stitched and laboured for his children's bread,
Fourpence a shirt the sweated wage I earned ;
Save when the doctor forced me to my bed,
Where thrice a mother's travail I had learned.
The day he left me for the barrack square,
He swore we " women were no earthly use
For anything but filling men with care ; "
His parting words were words of foul abuse.
And now they tell me of a hero's death,
How, one to ten, he held the Huns at bay,
And won the cross ; yet with his passing breath
He bade the Chaplain " take his face away ! "
Inside the pubs the neighbours speak his praise,
The man who brought the world about our slum,
Or by the open window stand and gaze,
And wonder why his slattern wife is dumb.
IN A SLUM 29
The preacher dwells the ways of God upon,
Surpassing man's design and woman's wit ;
" Oh, God, I can't be sorry he is gone,
But, going, I am glad he did his bit."
(To LADY DILKE.)
OLD wines grow stale, with winter in their thews,
But " Maga " keeps the vintage of the spring,
Which Dionysus did from Naxos bring
To blend with flavour of Olympian dews ;
Who drinks, not Somnus but Minerva woos ;
To fill the vat, the modern Jasons fling
The grape of sacrifice as offering,
And Argonauts present their dripping cruse ;
And that the ichor may invite the tongue,
Our Ganymede calls Comus to his aid,
And in the cup a pinch of spice is flung,
That Satire may smug Prejudice invade ;
Who drinks may dwell the newer gods among,
And then go forth Mount Helicon to raid.
30 TO J. STOKER CLOUSTON
TO MY FRIEND
J. STOKER CLOUSTON.
TEN thousand elves have hostel in your mind,
And scatter showers of laughter on the world,
When pompous fools to ridicule are blind,
Or humour out of argument is hurled ;
Yet no unseemly hurts your quips betray,
For Humour ne'er can kindliness dismiss,
But when it stings, it takes the pain away,
With Sympathy, which healeth with a kiss ;
Too oft with Care we walk a dullard's mile,
Or Worry sits and broods upon its nest,
Till Comedy our sorry moods beguile,
And prods our sense of humour with a jest ;
When I on Reason cold am forced to dine,
I choose good vintage Humour as the wine.
(The Ninth Division at Longueval.)
(To JESSIE FRAZER.)
" There has been nothing finer done in the War, or, I believe,
in any war, than the way in which the Scotsmen, after four days
of unimaginable strain, held and flung back the enormously
preponderating numbers of the desperate last German counter-
attack. It was what remained of the Highlanders, with a
gallant handful of South Africans, who in a hastily made line.
HIGHLAND LAMENT 31
beat back a force of cither nine or ten battalions of fresh troops.
It is a big thing to say, but there is nothing in all Scotland's
fighting history of which Scotsmen have more reason to be
proud. By that fortune which helps brave men to do the
impossible, they won. Gathering all the men together they
could fragments of battalions, scraps of companies, shreds of
platoons, they, a mere handful though they were, charged and
counter-attacked. Shell-shocked and wounded, sound or hurt,
these men who had had four sleepless days and nights of con-
tinuous effort and fighting somehow went forward. It must
have been a sight as is not seen often in war. The enemy fell
back in spite of all their numbers. And that night the Scotsmen
lay in the line of their original objective and that has been held
since." The Times, July 25th, 1916.
THEY went out of Menzies, Buchanan and Cawdor,
They sped to the warring from Moy and from Scone ;
They gathered with Scots out of Yarrow and Lauder,
Hamilton, Thirlestane, Drumlanrig, and Doune.
Their blood was as spate that reddens the Garry,
Their stature like birches that wave over Blair ;
Their arms were of granite, rough-hewn from the quarry,
But their hearts were their women's, and troubled
They saw as they fought the Hebrides rising,
A crown in the midst of their unbidden tears ;
And a smile out of Morven their wrath was surprising,
And the eddies of Mull whispered low to their fears.
They sprang to the foemen with chanters a-screaming ;
The pibroch of Donuil that is wine to the blood ;
They rose and they struck and then it was seeming
The whole heart of Scotland poured out like a flood.
32 HIGHLAND LAMENT
O'er the braes of Balquhidder the sad stars are weeping,
The winds through the larches a coronach wail,
The pulse of the Carron with pity is leaping,
And the brow of Schiehallion with sorrow is pale ;
The noonday of Atholl is passed to the gloaming,
The heart of Kirkmichael is black with the mirk,
The lips of Lochaber with anguish are foaming,
And the cheeks of Strathallan are grey as the birk.
The Ogilvie drum is sounding at Airlie,
Clan Chattan's black chanter it pipeth in vain,
For the chieftains return not they honoured sae fairly,
And the women they moan in the darkness their lane ;
O'er the scaurs of Macduff the shadows are stealing,
At Gairloch the hearth -stones yawn empty as wind,
The bairns at Glenreasdell crouch stark in the shieling,
And the blue eyes of Appin with tear mist are blind.
The wraiths of Culloden, their chiefs they are sending
By deep Killiecrankie to summon the tryst,
And proud Inverlochy's grey spectres are blending
With Philiphaugh's dead, from their slumber enticed ;
The hosts through the wynds of Dunedin are treading,
By Bannockburn's field they are taking the trail,
To the braes of Glenfinnan in silence a-heading,
To stand by the shroud while they keen for the Gael.
'Tis the spirits of heroes who watch at the keening,
And point through the gloaming away to the stars,
And call to the women to hasten their weaning,
And nurture their sons for the greed of the wars ;
HIGHLAND LAMENT 33
Till the gates of the skies are flung open for ever
And the sun of the dawn never drifts to the mirk,
The rune it is written the claymore shall never
Rust in the scabbard or blunt grow the dirk.
TO F. C. eOULTER,
LIEUT., SOUTH WALES BORDERERS.
FAIR-FA' your lowin sonsie face,
Wi' cantie een a gaucy brace,
Amang us, douce, ye tak your place
Brogue, leggins a',
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace,
That's nane sae sma !
I hae ye fine, an honest chiel
Wha kens the human lore sae weel,
An' couthie thoughts, an' rede sae leal ;
Nae scornfu' views !
Your heart gaes dancin' in a reel
Wi' ilka Muse !
Ye are na het on feckless round,
Wi' fletherin' gowks wi' nowt but sound,
Nae jillet can your breastie stound,
Wi jaukin mou',
Aiblins, ye ken they aft abound,
A tittlin crew.
Ae crabbit birkie ye deride,
Ae clockin' caird ye canna bide,
34 TO F. C. COULTER
Wi' pow a' primsie fu' o' pride,
An' clatter fause ;
A prentit beuk his feckless guide,
To plead a cause !
Ye baud your whisht afront the coof ,
An' tak your shooa frae 'neath his roof
Yet speir his ain auld Hornie's hoof
To quat frae sight ;
Sma' guid to him is unco' proof,
Wha's always right !
Your aiths gang skirling thro' the mess,
Ae thing to wrack ae thing to bless,
Wi' strang convictions mair or less,
Your curchie dreeps ;
An' ilka chide is ae caress,
Which gracefu' leaps !
Sae sit ye doun and gie's your crack,
An' when ye gang cam' blithely back,
For how to fend ye hae a knack,
An' how to speir,
Sae if a cronie ye may lack,
Come ben to here.
I lo'e fu' weel your glower to scan,
An' feel the healsome i' your han'
Ye're aye sae glib to understan' ;
Here comes the bree !
An' yin that's fittet to a Man !
Ye'll tak a wee ?
THE SEARCH 85
(To NELLIE MAUL.)
ON Love I plied my prentice hand,
And thumbed with witless haste the clay ;
It crumbled like a chunk of sand,
And formless on the easel lay.
With craftsman's skill I strove in vain
To vivify my plastic sense,
And found the unachieving pain,
An agonising recompense.
With master-hand I patient wrought,
And viewed through dreams the perfect end,
But only Life to still-life brought,
My passioned longing to offend.
But still I search to gain the prize,
That seems to fit my craftsman's touch ;
It may be I am overwise,
It may be that I seek too much.
Or is it that I failed to see
Perfection in a former clay,
And reached my noblest artistry,
In something I had thrown away ?
86 JAMES WATT WALKER
TO MY BROTHER, JAMES WATT WALKER.
In Memory of his only son, TURNER, Lieutenant, the King's
(Liverpool) Regiment, killed in action July ist, 1916.
BROTHER of mine ! does nought remain of him ?
Nought save an empty chair beside your hearth,
And, far away beneath a sullen sky,
A cross, rude carved, above a soldier's grave.
Are you at war with Fate ? Bitter
That all the gracious buds of spring,
Which in the secret garden of your hopes
Full promise gave of summer's perfect blooms
Seem now as nothing more than drifting leaves
Which whisper low along the ways of memory ;
Does nought remain but that ? It must not be ;
Take thought of this your island home,
Full girded round with loyal waves
Upon whose armoured breast we long have rode
As Ward and Watcher of the tameless Earth,
This storied soil, where strong men of your kin,
By Highland fastness and by Lowland stretch,
Have told with blood the nature of their creed ;
Who at the call of rightful King or ancient Faith,
Drew blade and leapt to fame, in Death's despite ;
If you have pride in these,
What greater pride should stir your passions now ?
Your native land ! how dearer it must be,
Now you have paid it such immediate price
JAMES WATT WALKER 37
You had no richer largess to bestow,
Than this, your all of manhood ;
By token of his blood shed by that far off Somme,
You claim the right to call this land your own,
Upon whose title deeds his name is writ ;
Brother of mine ! fruit of that mother breast
Whose name is holiest next to God,
Full-known, full-felt is this within the heart of one
Who feels the world's strong pulse grow thin with death,
That these but seem as phrases culled
To drug your fevered grief to sleep,
And that the waking hour may bring an added pain ;
You hear no longer tread the eager step,
The loving voice no longer warms the ear,
And spectres crowd the gateways of your thoughts ;
But this I know, that when the crushing wave
Which breaks against your breast has spent its force,
It will have sent a rich o'erflowing stream,
To flood the spacious veins of memory,
And as it flows, to feed the roots of pride,
And fill for ever full the fonts of love ;
And so from this day forth it will be joy,
To have his name unceasing on the tongue,
And every recollection will be
Served by honourable thoughts and undisputed words ;
This be the aftermath of all your pain,
That till the last grim shadow falls,
He will remain a ministrant of love,
A gracious influence, an ever radiant presence.
38 THE REV. J. R. HALE, C.F.
THE REV. J. R. HALE, C.F.,
PRIEST AND NATURALIST.
(To THE REV. M. R. CARPENTER-GARNIER, C.F.)
HE shows the place the Petrel makes his lair,
And where the Pochard hides upon the mere,
He knows the Divers' flight, where Merlins pair ;
And where the Dartford Warblers offspring rear ;
He sees how Lust the Lapwing vaunts its crest,
How Faith the Dove has Doubt the Hawk as foe,
Why Self the Cuckoo ravishes the nest,
And Greed the Burglar sits a Hooded Crow ;
A new St. Francis, priest of Bird and Man,
He strides the world with eyes that search the stars,
Yet lowers his brow in sympathy to scan,
The weakling held from sin by prison bars ;
His heart is with the Woodlark in the sky
And on the mire where squalid wastrels die.
ARTIST IN LETTERS.
(To ERIC CLOUGH-TAYLOR.)
HE knows the fitting action of each word,
Where they may blight and when they can amaze ;
And gains by one denied and one preferred,
The lyric music of the perfect phrase ;
And with the rhythms of harmonic style
He vows the creeds which the Parnassians own,
And Mount Olympus lends to us awhile,
The pompous rhetorician to dethrone ;
No platitude obtrudes its smug conceit
Upon the measured wisdom of his page,
Beneath whose words strong Attic pulses beat,
To shame the fevered jargon of the age ;
His artistry no mob appraisement seeks
But to the ear of fine attunement speaks.
IN MEMORY OF
LIEUT.-COLONEL MALCOLM McNEIL,
ARGYLL AND SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS,
CHIEFTAIN, SOLDIER, PIPER AND SHIKARI.
(To MAJOR ALAN FOSTER.)
I MAY not read the rune beyond the grave
No traveller e'er returns from Death's long leave
I know not of the bourne the soul must brave,
Or if for change or endless sleep I grieve.
But if your spirit strong be lodged again
In your brave body, so perfected new,
Then I can see you striding through the rain
In some celestial Highlands of the blue.
40 LIEUT.-COLONEL MALCOLM McNEIL
I see you treading firm the piper's stride,
And hear the pibroch thrilling through the glen,
While dead Argylls, e'er earthly tears have dried,
Shake off their shrouds to quit themselves as men.
With fingers twitching on the phantom dirk
They know again the claymore's hungry steel,
While Lome's great dead march proudly through the mirk,
To follow once again a proud McNeil.
Or chance I hear the pipes a-skirling fast,
See blade and scabbard swiftly cast away ;
While saints and prophets stand in rows aghast,
As tartans whirl around the wild Strathspey.
I see by beetled scaur and heathered strath
Your stalker's eye discern the envied stag,
Or with your pet Somali seek the path
That swells the noble trophies of your bag.
And if your loyal senses still can reach
To Western islands sown amid the seas,
I swear you hear the drone upon the beach
Of running tides that wash the Hebrides.
These be but fancies, creatures of the dreams
I weave to take the sting of death away.
How strange, McNeil ! but yesterday it seems
We ran amok in dreams at Colonsay !
MARJORIE IN RETREAT.
YE gods, who mould the coming race,
On standards ultra-callisthenic,
Who fashion virtue, wit and grace,
By methods psychic and eugenic ;
Watch o'er Dame Marjorie I pray,
So that her race be classed as "A."
No problem novel let her con
That deals with marriage on its uppers ;
But rather choose Miss Annie Swan,
Or verses such as Martin Tupper's ;
Prefer, say, Spurgeon's best oration,
To dramas of the Restoration.
From mental storms and moral gales,
Keep her in innocence secluded ;
Let lewd Elizabethan tales,
And Churchill's satires be excluded ;
Prefer the tracts of Dr. Parker
To plays of Wycherley and Farquhar.
Leave Sterne and Swift to work their will,
When she has reached to convalescence
Prescribing lines like " Jack and Jill,"
Not Swinburne's passioned effervescence
A mother's kiss, and not " il bacio "
From out the pages of Boccaccio.
42 MARJORIE IN RETREAT
" If music be the food of love,"
Let harmonies compose the ration,
All things that moderns are above
Now Rhythm has gone out of fashion.
Choose music of the hurdy-gurdy,
Familiar themes of Balfe and Verdi.
Let not " Electra " hold her thrilled,
Or " Gotterdammerung " intrigue her ;
Such things as Tetrazzini trilled
Might make her protest much too eager.
The haunting airs perchance of Schumann,
Are always a propos and human.
Selecting pictures (nota bene)
A vital and important task is,
Insipid saints of Guido Reni,
Prefer to syrens of Velasquez ;
A Hogarth trull, a Titian nude.
Must in the meantime be eschewed.
And so, ye gods, keep free her mind,
From those diversions over hearty,
Let visitors be all inclined
To otium cum dignitate.
And logically then will follow
The birthday of the new Apollo.
WOE IS ME, MY HEART ! 48
WOE IS ME, MY HEART !
Suggested by the haunting lilt of an old Irish melody, as
played by Mrs. Claude Beddington.
(To LADY POYNTER.)
I LOVED the lad, I could not love him better,
His arms around me, none as I so blest,
And when from him there came to me a letter,
It lay throughout the night upon my breast.
My timid eyes, they never went a-roving,
My little heart had only room for one,
My thoughts and dreams were all of him and loving,
And when he fell, it seemed my life was done.
And now my head with oil of scorn anointing,
They name me one grown faithless to her mate,
I know my heart has proved too disappointing,
I hoped for Death it could in patience wait.
I kneel and pray that God may chance be willing
To snatch this draught of joyance from my lips ;
This cup which once again with love is filling,
And which I taste with hesitating sips.
Impatient heart ! I could not tame your beating,
Why not content with memory alone ?
I thought such bliss could never have repeating,
Yet once again my heart away has flown.
44 WOE IS ME, MY HEART !
I loved the lad, I could not love him better,
His smile upon me dazzled with its light ;
Last e'en I found a worn and crumpled letter,
And bathed with tears the writing all the night.
(To LORD POWERSCOURT.)
MUST you, who love your people and your land,
Through fell and fair stand constant by their side,
Find all your dreams, like writing on the sand,
Washed by the sponges of the changing tide ?
Must grim Mistrust stand by to see you spin
The thread of Love, and when the reel be spun,
Must warp and woof to comely union win,
And end a tangled skein of work undone ?
Must Peace the Dove still shiver in the rain,
And, hopeless, wait the lifting of a latch,
Or, pleading, flutter at the window-pane,
Till Hate the Hawk the fretful bird despatch ?
Must War the Wrecker sit upon a throne,
And Love the Healer, vagrant, walk alone ?
(To LADY DUNEDIN.)
THE ghosts that haunt these fairways of the past,
May hear much sweet communing on the dead ;
They wear, the heavy mail of living cast,
The star-spun robes of memory instead ;
And one there comes with heart of purest gold,
And lips with pride recall her kindly deeds,
A presence sweet that never can grow old,
Her plant was from the everlasting seeds ;
And other wraiths of loved ones passing nigh,
Hear gracious minds pay tribute to their worth
When Time the bee has sucked my nectar dry,
And all my leaves are scattered on the earth ;
Maybe some faithful friend will save a part,
And press them in a missal of the heart.
(To CAPT. F. E. GREIG, ROYAL SCOTS.)
No battle-songs leap from his tongue,
No fearsome tales to grip the ear ;
He, silent, strolls his pals among,
Or, dreaming, mumbles in his beer.
He slopes around his pictured hut,
And whistles sentimental tunes,
With thoughts not bent on warfare, but
On yester-eve among the dunes.
He gets in trouble now and then,
And goes, " cap off," to take his dues,
Which give him time to scrape a pen,
Or stitch and titivate his blues.
He owns up grimly when he's caught
About himself he's fairly straight
One code of honour can't be bought :
He " lies like Hell " to save a mate.
His own battalion's there's no doubt
The best that ever faced the Hun ;
And yet, he mostly talks about
The times they felt inclined to run.
He'd rather grouse about his grub
Than mention deeds that fire the eye ;
Recall some unexpected pub,
Than speak of men who fought to die.
The strips of ribbon on his breast
He says he swept up from the floor ;
And vows he has to wear them lest
Some Brass Hat comes and gives him more.
When pressed for details by his folk
He gives a kind of nervous grunt
And says, " Oh, some rheumatic bloke
Was sleeping in a draught in front."
He is not rare among the crowd
I know some like him, more or less
He does not shout his views aloud,
Like " barrack lawyers " in the Mess.
And yet beneath his careless air,
The look as if he had forgot,
I know a Man with pluck to dare
The End as if it mattered not.
(To LADY BAIRD OF NEWBYTH.)
ALOOF, emotionless, sublime, content,
Holding no creeds, but meditating each ;
He makes research in Wisdom's testament,
For Truth which dwells beyond all human reach.
His sister Faith, he never could disown,
She enters in where he is loath to tread,
He summons Hope when Reason's wits have flown,
And Proof is wearing graveclothes for her dead.
He greets the ways of Justice with a sigh,
And Equity depriveth of his bays,
He broods apart when bribed Reward is nigh,
Or Charity holds sordid speech with Praise.
To high-souled Duty he dare promise nought,
But life's one envied consolation prize,
Pure peace of mind which none has ever bought
By Sophistry or coward Compromise.
Beyond the fretful impulse of the hour,
He sees dethroned the masters of the Time,
Sees Phase the wolf sleek Prejudice devour,
And morals change their garments with their clime.
Where social pigmies vaunt their prison bars,
And scan no height beyond their topmost stair,
He turns their eyes myopic to the stars,
Ten million worlds that flicker in the air.
With thought's cool touch he stills the ways of Strife,
And Passion's flame he chilleth with a breath ;
He takes the sneer from off the lips of Life,
He takes the frown from off the brow of Death.
He sends as sympathy no mourner's grief,
If tears we ask him, he has none to give ;
The man who dies is but a fallen leaf,
And all must die that other lives may live.
He would not turn our human woe to scorn,
But waits until we cruel Care dismiss;
And when the night has flown, unfolds the morn,
And sends his mother Wisdom with a kiss.
To those who would enjoy life's short repast,
He gives this wisest counsel for their aid ;
Consider each day's coming as the last ;
And think on Life as only Death delayed.
ON THE DEATH OF MY NEPHEW,
CAPTAIN JOHN STUART DIGHT WALKER, M.C.
(One of several brothers killed in action, who, seriously wounded in
a former engagement, insisted on an early return to his regiment.
He was killed while performing an act of great gallantry.)
HE was the strongest Scotsman of my race,
And neither Life nor Death would own indeed
As Sovran Lord ; he looked them in the face,
As he some chance acquaintanceship would heed
ON THE DEATH OF MY NEPHEW 49
He smiled at Fear, e'en as he glowed at Beauty,
His Faith was easy writ God and his Duty.
He oft had kept with Death a hurried tryst,
But parted ere the nuptial kiss was gained ;
Till once again by Duty's lure enticed,
The sacrament of marriage was attained ;
He knew the rune was written ere he went,
However Chance might strive to circumvent.
He was the heir to Covenant and King,
And for our modern Covenant would die ;
He saw around the Throne of Empire cling
The aura of a nation's unity ;
And by The Word to which his fathers heeded,
He owned the God to which each race succeeded.
His thoughts were tuned to themes of good intent,
And kindly were the motives of his days,
And counting strength as man's first armament,
He listened to the weakling with amaze ;
If there be Life beyond this earthly End,
There many will be proud to name him Friend.
For he would come with fearless front to join
The Lodge close-tiled against the common foe,
Who toss for Truth and Falsehood with a coin,
And look to chance to show them where to go,
Who with a sophist's creed defend their claim
To line the field but never share the game.
50 ON THE DEATH OF MY NEPHEW
Tis not for him I mourn, but for the hearth
That now betrays another empty seat ;
The tragic mood of sweet love's aftermath,
The scythe that sweeps the scarcely ripened wheat
God in his mercy hear the parents kneeling,
And send the One they own to promise healing.
LINES TO MAJOR F. W. G. HAMILTON.
Tis said that, like to me, you take your ease,
Secluded, spite your state of Benedick-ion ;
A non-mysogynist Diogenes !
'Tis nothing new to us, the vogue of fiction !
Alas for fools ! Why there is scarce a man
Who holds such levees of the princely breed ;
Last night I saw slip forth from his sedan
Old Horace Walpole, sadly run to seed.
And after him, with placid scholar's mien,
Trim Walter Pater, Plato's Neo-born ;
And with the sea spray on his brow serene
Glides Percy Shelley, radiant as the morn I
With paunch of Falstaff, Rubensesque there came
Old Dr. Sam, with Bos well all alert
To give the old dictator deathless fame,
With something more than lexicon inert.
LINES TO MAJOR F. W. G. HAMILTON 51
And then with Scottish haar upon his brow,
Which rays Samoan thawed to softer dews,
Gaunt Louis came to him 'twas quite enow
To feel the blood of Walter in his thews !
And gipsy favoured, supernatant still,
Passed Lang, the critic, with " the brindled hair " ;
Ready to wound, without the power to kill,
With academic jibe so debonair.
I peeped within your window as you stood
And gave to Matthew Arnold stately bend ;
You quoted lines which even fools deem good,
" The Wish " the scholar wrote to make an end.
Within your hall the grave assembly pass,
Parnassian soil upon their sandalled feet ;
Old Livy, Horace, and Pythagoras
While Socrates, he button-holes the street
Lucretius there with Newman argues hot,
Why Bacon far from Shakespeare's side has kept ;
While 'neath the rising babel, polyglot,
Carlyle, who hated talkers, soundly slept.
There Coleridge, with a mild didactic frown,
The bitter husk from Byron's mood has peeled ;
While Jowett flicks his tutelary gown,
To sweep the dust from Father Chesterfield.
52 LINES TO MAJOR F. W. G. HAMILTON
Upon the roof young sapling of the stars
Keats sits apart, the hemlock in his veins,
While to his Damozel against the bars
Of heav'n Rossetti's faithful vision strains.
Alas ! I look in vain for those whose lilt
Was not attuned to Criticaster's rote ;
Whose moods upon the world were freely spilt,
For vagabonds or philistines to quote.
But come it will, I'll see Boccaccio there,
The stately mood with rakish tale to lift ;
I'll mock myself with Heine on the stair,
And split my stays with Rabelais and Swift.
I'll hear from Burns' heart the lyrics pour,
To melt the pinchbeck of the pedant's bliss ;
And with his satire pierce the placid bore,
And still the sudden bleeding with a kiss.
I'll see Buchanan angry with the prigs,
Inviting Swinburne to an A.B.C. ;
While Fran$ois Villon playfully digs
Will Wordsworth in the ribs with jeu d'esprit.
From dim St. Mary Redcliffe there will trip
Young Chatterton to foist on them an ode,
And Lang will prove to all its authorship,
Deciphered by his last discovered code.
LINES TO MAJOR F. W. G. HAMILTON 53
" They say, what do they say, then let them say,"
Keith Marshall's words as legacy I leave ;
For when for lonely souls the foolish pray,
The lonely may be laughing in his sleeve.
A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN.
(To EDITH JOHNSTON.)
OH God, if 'tis the will of Thine,
I drink the sacrificial wine,
With those the grave encompasseth ;
For me I ask for nothing, save
Some small concession to the brave,
If brave I keep my tryst with Death.
But, God, I crave in full for one,
Who waits me when the fight be done,
Who dares not think that I may fall ;
If to the Truth she slowly wake,
And Thou befriend for pity's sake,
Send Love who understandeth all.
Oh God, if in that cruel hour,
My lonely mother you endower
With meaning of the sacrifice ;
So she may raise her brows in pride
And say " It was for me he died,"
Then strong from prayer I will arise.
54 A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN
If I could only know that they
Would steel their stricken faith and say
" Thy will be done he could but go
To share the glory of the race,"
And brave rebuke each mournful face,
I'd ask no quarter from the foe.
But fearless walk into the fray
(Oh God, take Thou my fear away,
Of my dear home one glance afford
The mother's eyes, the sister's touch !) ;
I know I ask Thee overmuch ;
I leave them in thy hands, O Lord !
CAPT. R. F. HANBURY,
3RD BATT. BEDFORD REGIMENT.
(To CAPT. E. V. TOWNSHEND.)
A BURBERRY well seasoned with the rain,
No band-box thing to catch a dandy's eye ;
A garb of war that oft will serve again,
When Scottish pools invite the angler's fly.
A stately stride, a mien so calm and trim,
An eye alert, yet shy to face the crowd ;
A shattered arm to show the trade of him
A handicap of which he may be proud ;
A boyish smile, which, mingled with a blush,
Reveals an aim ingenuous and straight :
CAPT. R. F. HANBURY 55
A cynic blend quite innocent of gush,
His words convince but seldom agitate ;
Faithful to Duty and its next of kin
The well-graced form of loyal Discipline.
TO IAN MACPHERSON,
MINISTER OF PENSIONS.
FROM where the swelling braes break on the sky,
Or warm their breasts beneath their heather plaids.
And harried ranks of timbered soldiery
Proclaim the tempest's immemorial raids,
Hot in your veins the Celtic fervour leal
Which from Culloden's field your Cluny bore,
And found for him an unmolested biel
Within the lairs of clansmen tempted sore,
You came full girt with Highland grit of thew,
To prove the city needful of the glen,
And to the Southern hosts the challenge blew,
" A Scotsman once, a Scotsman aye again,"
Till your tried worth, with sympathy as mate,
Was called to grace the Councils of the State.
56 THE FIFTEENTH DIVISION
THE FIFTEENTH DIVISION.
FRENCH TRIBUTE TO THE SCOTS.
(To HELEN WAYMOUTH.)
A recent issue of the French journal L' 'Illustration contains a
detailed account of the part which a Scottish division took in the
capture of Burancy, at the end of July, and also the record of
a singularly graceful compliment which a French division paid
to their Scottish comrades. The I5th division, which included
Royal Scots, K.O.S.B.'s, Black Watch, Gordons, Argylls, and
Seaforths, held its position for three days under a murderous
artillery fire, waiting for the other division to come into line,
and then went forward with them to the final attack, in which
it took a leading part. The admiration provoked among the
French troops was such that General Gassouin, commanding
the French division, decided to raise immediately a monument
in memory of the magnificent feat of arms, " equal to the greatest
in the war." The work was entrusted to Lieut. R6n6 Puaux
and five engineer sappers, who in four days raised a pyramid
constructed of stones from the ruined chateau of Buzancy.
On a tablet, representing a thistle encircled with roses, were
inscribed the words: "Here the glorious thistle of Scotland
will bloom for ever amidst the roses of France."
UPON the soil where Scotland's Queen was called to
thole a crown,
The lives of Scotland's gallant sons are blown as thistle-
But where they fall, there bloom again the flowers of
When Scotland's ancient Thistle was twined with the
Rose of France.
THE FIFTEENTH DIVISION 57
Twin emblems of a Royal Faith that reached across the
Which lap the shores of Brittany and wash the Hebrides,
The full-blown flowers of Chivalry bend o'er the hallowed
Where France has laid her fallen to sleep with their
No race with rash impunity who touch these flowers as
But feels the barbs of the Thistle, the thorns that guard
The peaceful flower of the hillside may show a clay-
And the rose's scented gauntlet a foeman's blade reveal.
Be there empty hearths in Scotland and shattered
homes in France,
The red of the Rose and Thistle proclaim the New
The red is the blood of heroes, shed in a common quest,
And the Thistle's fallen petals sleep on the Rose's breast.
ROMANCE AND REALISM.
(To LT.-COL. F. R. HILL.)
I HAVE a cold, which makes me think
Of those who served the High Romance
The Melisande of Maeterlinck,
Or Shakespeare's Juliet, perchance,
58 ROMANCE AND REALISM
In midst of their ecstatic poses,
Did no catarrh affect their noses ?
Such squalid facts the poets shun ;
And yet it would annoy a lover,
To feel her mucous membrane run,
Or else a ruby nose discover.
'Twould spoil Isolde's grand cadenza,
If Tristan sneezed with influenza.
Romantic tales I read in vain,
To find a heroine afflicted
With mumps or some domestic pain,
To which we are at times addicted ;
Had Strephon squirms beneath his sash,
Or Chloe signs of nettlerash ?
The Forest Lovers ne'er complained
Of toothache or of tonsilitis ;
And Romeo not once maintained,
His absence due to stomatitis ;
And Helen, hailed by Grecian " Zito's "
Was she ne'er bothered by mosquitos ?
We are not told if P.U.O.
Upset the syrens of Ulysses,
Or if a dose Pil Rhei Co.
Gave Cupid pause between his kisses
Nor if the Maidens of the Rhine,
Took prototypes of No. 9.
Such facts as these familiarise,
Would render heroines more human ;
Perhaps some poet will devise
A cypher hinting at albumen,
Suggesting mutton boiled with capers,
Explained the mystery of " vapours."
And so when coughs affect my chest,
The maid I love is feeling bilious,
These crude complaints I may invest,
With classic analogue punctilious
" From sleeping out without a nightie,
A bad catarrh had Aphrodite."
'Twould be a consolation grand,
If Cleopatra had the measles ;
If Cenci (B) had swollen gland
Ere Guido put her on his easels.
Aware of these we all would chortle
To know we fared as an Immortal.
TO THE REV. F. A. G. LEVESON-GOWER, C.F.
THE sunbeams found you when your world was young,
How glad in youth the sunbeams dance and dart !
Till one great flame against your breast was flung,
And, tired with playing, stept inside your heart ;
And when the other beams had run away
This one, contented, chose with you to stay.
60 TO THE REV. F. A. G. LEVESON-GOWER
It peeps from out your eyes when you are glad,
It makes a sunny smile upon your lips,
It sits in waiting when your heart is sad,
And in your tears of sympathy it dips ;
If inspiration your grave thoughts endow,
It spins to make a halo round your brow.
It leaves your breast at times to make a call,
On those whose li ves are weighted down with woe ;
Each darkened cell becomes a lighted hall,
Each cloudy sky is circled with a bow ;
And then the beam returneth home again,
And leaves behind some heart bereft of pain.
Though years creep on, the beam retains its fire ;
The offspring of the Sun immortal be,
It gives a gracious aspect to your ire,
And lends your doubt a pleasing mockery.
I've seen the shadow creep across your eyes
The beam appears, the shadow droops and dies.
No dying ember is the beam you caught
On childhood's path and gave it board and bed ;
And many lessons, cruel Time has taught,
Have Banished much but it has never fled ;
And when at last your monument we hew,
It still will live, the legacy of you.
TWO PERTHSHIRE SONNETS 61
TWO PERTHSHIRE SONNETS.
(To MRS. CHAMBERS.)
THERE is no place on Scotland's royal breast,
Which holds so strong remembrance in my mind ;
Where dainty lawns by Flora's hands caressed,
To Zephyrus and Eums are resigned ;
Here blushing scaurs command the timbered braes,
And slopes washed sweet by summer dews and rain,
From where I scan the trail of storied days,
When Birnam Wood had marched to Dunsinane,
Here triple lochs reflect the changing mood,
Of skies that hold a mountain chain of cloud,
'Neath which the knuckled hills of Cardney brood,
With kilt of ling and heather plaid endowed ;
And where the hearts I love are still aglow,
With kindly thoughts and deeds as long ago.
II. THE FOREST'S SACRIFICE.
(To DOROTHY STIRLING.)
TWAS not the race alone which served the need,
Which doffed its coat to face the skilful foe,
But Scotland's soil proved worthy of its seed,
And stirred the roots which pulsed the sap below ;
With ready hand it cast away its cloak
Of forest warmth, its woodland hosiery,
The larch, the pine, the willow and the oak,
To serve the ends of allied soldiery ;
62 TWO PERTHSHIRE SONNETS
Till naked stood the once proud vestured hill,
With nought but ravished roots to speak the past ;
And plaidless braes were nipped by winter's chill,
And quiltless dells were struck by arctic blast ;
Till kindly Nature met the soil's request :
A shawl of bracken for its naked breast !
(To MY NEPHEW, MAJOR ALISON G. D. WALKER, M.C.)
Every position must be held to the last man. With our backs
to the wall each of us must fight on to the end. The safety of
our homes and the freedom of mankind depend alike upon the
conduct of each of us. SIR DOUGLAS HAIG.
BY that strong pride your fathers won,
From stricken field and ruthless sea :
" Howe'er the changing fortunes run
The end must come to victory."
By that calm faith that steels our land,
By that strong love which binds us fast,
We give to you this grim command
Hold on, unbroken to the last !
By all the worth that we have shed,
By all the loved ones we have lost,
The last proud look upon the dead,
Hold on, nor calculate the cost ;
HOLD FAST 68
By all the dead have left to you
For tho,se they loved, to make complete,
Keep faith with them, for what you do
Is now their surest paraclete.
Hold fast, ye men of English breed !
Who through the fretted years have shared
The legacy your sires decreed
Should pass to you, for what they dared ;
Hold fast ! as they held fast and won.
Hold fast and die as they before.
In noble mien for duty done,
At Crecy and at Agincourt.
Hold fast, ye men of Scottish tongue,
Whose name strikes terror in the foe,
Whose deeds from old the poets sung,
Whose valour all the nations know ;
By all the cov'nants ye have sworn,
For Bruce and Stewart in their turn,
The blood you shed for hopes forlorn ;
Hold fast, you sons of Bannockburn !
And you with blood from Irish veins,
Remember how your fathers sped,
Like swoop of mighty hurricanes,
To leave behind them fields of dead.
Hold fast, O'Connor and O'Neill !
And hear the wraith of Desmond speak :
" Go let the Prussian foeman feel
Your dying breath against his cheek."
64 HOLD FAST
Hold fast, Llewellyn's fighting breed
Isandalwhana broke in vain,
Your forebears planted well the seed,
And scarce a seed inert has lain.
The foe to lick with " tongues of fire,"
Let Edris flaunt a fiercer flame
Ye men whom Britain may require,
To taste of Death's immortal fame.
And ye who from the mother breast,
Sprang up to strength beyond the sea,
Who at the call sent forth your best,
To bleed in lone Gallipoli ;
Who took the trail through Northern snows
Or found it by the Southern Cross.
Hold fast the gateway to your foes,
Hold fast, nor reckon up the loss !
By all you hold in sacred trust,
The hearths of home, the children's smile,
The kirkyard and the Abbey's dust,
All holy things that brutes defile,
By all the hopes that dreams inspired,
By all the tracks your feet have trod,
Hold fast, by Faith and Duty fired,
As if you held the line for God !
And you for whom these bulwarks stand,
Guard well the fortress of your trust ;
With fortitude and patience manned,
And keep your blade of faith from rust.
HOLD FAST 65
So they who die that you be free,
May not be doubtful of the price,
And each man's bloody Calvary,
Prove you as worth the sacrifice.
THE WHITE HORSE INN, EDINBURGH.
A JACOBITE DRINKING SONG.
(Written on re-reading of Charles Edward Stuart's delay in
Edinburgh, which eventually lost him a Crown.)
(To IAN A. FLETCHER.)
IT'S long, ye carles, since here came Charles,
And there's an awfu' blether,
Amang the chiefs and a' the fiefs,
They're slanging yin anither ;
While some say blate, the cause can wait
While we hae maut and lasses ;
We're out to fight, cries yonder wight,
An' no to drain the tassies.
Lochiel says " Yea," but Nairn cries " Nay,"
" Let's start at once," quo' Murray ;
But Keppoch he says, " Ye will see,
Our Prince is in nae hurry !
Twixt skirts and gill, he tak's his fill,
He ne'er will move till I go,"
Cries auld Glencoe and young Elcho,
And whiles the Earl PitsJigo.
66 THE WHITE HORSE INN, EDINBURGH
Tis understood, in Holyrood,
There's ladies braw and bonny ;
And wine and dance brought o'er frae France
And grumbling chieftains mony ;
So damn the Whig, wha cares a fig ?
We'll fight all right the morning
We've here a tap, fra which to lap
While Sassenachs we're scorning.
The White Horse Brand will serve ye grand
If ye have coin to pay, sir,
For ten bawbees, you'll drown Forbes
Alang wi' Simon Fraser.
It's no for us to mak' a fuss
If Charlie is nae moving.
I'm no that feared we'll ' dree our weird '
When yince the cause we're proving.
Ye're aff to bed, ye're seeing red !
I ken ye're Hieland breed, man,
Just tak' a drap, to mak' ye nap,
Ye'll no drink when ye're deid, man.
So why be dour, if there's nae stour,
Nae Whigs to fight and such kin ?
Put up your dirk, ma Hieland stirk,
I've ordered in a mutchkin.
I ken the lairds are anxious cairds
But maut is here to cheer us.
Let women keen, but dry your e'en,
I see nae need to fear us,
THE WHITE HORSE INN, EDINBURGH 67
The claymore's there, the drink is here,
Let's wed thae two together
For King and Cause and Scotland's laws,
And damn all ither blether !
THE ARMY MEDICAL SERVICE.
(To GENERAL SIR ALFRED KEOGH, G.C.B., Director-General.)
GRIM Nature keeps its unrelenting laws ;
So you, our gracious advocate and chief,
Before the Bench of pity bring your cause,
And take our shattered manhood as your brief ;
Freeing the flowers of truth from strangling weed,
And fearless Pleading crown with fearless Deed.
You called on those whose ancient duty this
To swear eternal enmity to Death ;
To cure the weak betrayed by Pleasure's kiss,
And fight the ills which man inheriteth ;
Who, when the shadow falls of fell Disease,
Strike hard to bring the caitiff to his knees ;
Who, from their homeland toil at war's ukase,
Went forth as strangers to the wrath of arms,
To rob the sniper Death of envied bays,
And clear the aching brow of grave alarms ;
Ready at need to go where'er the call,
And offer hope to heroes when they fall.
68 THE ARMY MEDICAL SERVICE
By reeking shambles, bivouacs of pain,
By birdless brake where naught but missiles sing,
They fearless go to choose from out the slain,
Some restless spirit taking to the wing ;
Braving the deep descent a life to save,
Bridging the way to health across a grave.
Or waiting else, with patient nerve to greet
Bedraggled lines of broken men who pour
From out the flaming pit with leaden feet,
And drop like weary vagrants at their door ;
I see their long-drawn watches of the night,
Fighting mischance and putting Death to flight.
It is the will of God that cosmos spring
From out the chaos to which Nature tends
The lesser god, as Man, must also bring
Each lesser chaos to its cosmic ends ;
And so from out the cauldron of the storm,
They shape our human wreckage into form.
From out their ports, these battered hulks of men,
That seemed beyond the need of human skill,
Are fashioned apt to fitness once again,
To serve the purpose of their country's will ;
Red flotsam of the bloody waves of war,
Sail out on voyages new across the bar.
TO MY SISTER 69
TO MY SISTER, SUSAN STUART GEMMELL.
You do not ask that anyone should praise
In facile speech, the Duty you have done ;
By fretful night and ever anxious days,
Your never halting services have run ;
The spoils of Life, the peace of which you dream,
Have passed you by or halted on the way,
And yet such ragged fortune you may deem
As some hard debt that you were doomed to pay ;
If consolation you might wish to seek,
Find it in this that we all understand,
Although the kiss be absent from the cheek,
Although you miss the pressure of the hand,
That you are held in honour and in love,
All praise beyond, all recompense above.
(To MARQUIS ALESSANDRO IMPERIALI, FLORENCE.)
IN Freedom's cause you tread the roads along,
Where Caesar's will across the waves was hurled,
Where Dante grieved and Tasso reigned in song,
And Titian spoke in colour to the world ;
Where Venice fearless bathes her golden feet,
And Florence raises high her queenly crown,
Where Rome goes forth the wraiths of gods to meet,
And Naples flaunts her sea-encircled gown ;
It seems but yester-year, when through the storm
Of fight, there broke the splendour of the sun
When grave Mazzini dreamed, when planned Cavour,
And Garibaldi struck to make you one ;
The gems which Clio set upon your brow,
Are not for sale to earn a Teuton's vow.
A LOVER TO HIS MISTRESS.
THEY told me you were fair to see ;
Alas ! that maids have been so fair ;
My heart had need of policy,
Lest I be taken unaware
By eyebrows lifting to the blow
To lay my circumspection low.
Full-armed with caution's cunning ways,
I met the challenge of a lid ;
My pulses throbbing with amaze,
I feared what 'neath the scabbard hid.
I fell ere you had drawn the blade,
And on my knee submission made.
And now in Love's sweet hurting bonds,
I pity those who boast them free ;
For he who from Love's faith absconds,
I deem him priest of Heresy.
His own self-love must him suffice,
This Ishmael from Paradise.
A LOVER TO HIS MISTRESS 71
The fond allegiance I have sworn,
Let Love's conviction bring to thee ;
My ardent vows and oaths were born,
Of more than rhymers' artistry.
I leap all doubtings like a lover,
And in your breast my heart discover.
ON A FRIEND, WHO DIED ON SERVICE.
(To LEONORE WHITESIDE.)
HE was a dreamer, who had chanced his dreams as Truth,
Believed beyond the grave were lovers' vales,
And greater heights to dare immortal youth,
That Heav'n was not the most sublime of Fairy Tales.
And so he took the cup, without a sign of fear,
Believing that the sacrificial wine
Would clear the sense to all that puzzled here,
Prove deeper Human love was meant by love Divine.
A SOLDIER TO HIS COUNTRY.
(To DIANA ALEXANDER.)
WHAT is the Service that I pay
But just a mite of what you lent ?
So if I perish in the fray
Write on my grave this discontent :
" For all the debts this man did owe
His life was all he could bestow."
72 COLONEL JOHN SOUTHEY BOSTOCK
TO MY FRIEND,
COLONEL JOHN SOUTHEY BOSTOCK.
WHERE did we meet ? 'Twas two flats up
In that grey city, Captain of the Forth ;
And there we sang the song and drank the cup,
And shared the kindly humour of the North.
Who made us known ? A woman sweet,
Who joined our hands and left us friends for aye
Now when I pass that very proper street,
I bless the luck that found such holiday.
What happened then ? You took your path,
O'er road and sea, I knew not where or whence ;
I used to sing your songs within my bath,
* My friends declared a doubtful providence.
What came to me ? I wandered round,
And said my little say and wrote my line ;
And studied pompous volumes full of sound,
And flirted freely with the Muses nine.
Where met again ? At Summerdown,
Where you were Chief and I had come to learn ;
I look to see a Colonel with a frown,
But lo, your jolly visage I discern.
We carried on ! four years of Life !
We had the heart, our country named the deed ;
We took the broken soldier from the strife,
And patched him up to serve the common need.
COLONEL JOHN SOUTHEY BOSTOCK 73
Where are we now ? the cause remains !
We take the man, too shattered for his ploy ;
And while 'a meed of strength his body gains
We teach him some new outlook to enjoy.
Where will we go ? a thought absurd,
What matters it, if partners still befriend ?
I know I can be voucher to your word,
I know I'll prove you faithful to the end.
" GLASGOW CHAPS."
(To MRS. YOUNGER OF BENMORE.)
(A corporal and six men of the i-5th Highland Light Infantry
(52nd Division) forming the garrison of one of our posts . . .
were surrounded. . . . During two days the party maintained
their position with great gallantry and inflicted many casualties
on the enemy. . . When Mocuvres was retaken by our troops,
the whole party regained their unit without loss. Sir Douglas
Haig's Official Report.)
SOME " chaps " from down the water, from Rothesay or
Or just a " pack o' keelies " from out of Glasgow toun,
The Corporal, a Fife man, and " nane the waur o' that,"
But always " Glesca Hielanders " whate'er their habitat.
" I think I'll tak a drappie," said he of Candleriggs,
" Cam round and hae bit supper at my ten guinea digs."
" No thenks, I'm off tae Hamilton tae ca' upon the
" That shot's nae bad for you, Jock, I doot it were a
74 " GLASGOW CHAPS "
Brave lads cut off, surrounded, but that is nothing
They have to grin and bear it, as others had to do,
But these lads grinned and bore it in their own Glasgow
They sent the Boche a message, " Please ca' some ither
" And hae ye heard fra Maggie ? " asked Davy as
" Oh dinna waste guid pooder, unless you fill the
" And please to pass the ' White Horse/ I dinna tak'
" Oh ! well hit, guid auld Greenock, ye've pit him oot
There's not a bite of rations, there's nought to drink
With sleep, that base betrayer, a-crawling through the
" Fed up " and tired and hungry, blear-eyed and aching
With fifty Huns around them and always fifty more.
And " I lo'e a lassie," a keelie whistled low,
And " Bonnie Annie Laurie " was wafted to the foe.
" 'Twas well shot, auld Camlachie, just gie 'em stuff
" Come ben the hoose, wee Wullie, and dinna mind
" GLASGOW CHAPS " 75
For forty hours surrounded, and eight more hours of
And those who took the message, they ne'er came back
These " tartan breeks " from Clydeside, just doing of
For what ? For love of Scotland, and that's the end
" Ye're takin' a' the bed clothes," with humour grim
" And mind the flunkie brings the tea at half aught
o'clock " ;
" Ye got him fine," cried one lad, " a stiff 'un there's
I'll ask ye tae the Castle to join ma rabbit shoot."
For that's the way with soldiers who boast these little
They do not voice their feelings in proud heroic styles,
They meet old Death as comrade and chaff him as a
E'en though they may salute him on duty at the end.
" What's that ye're saying, birkie, they're daen o' a
Weel speaking oot quite candid, I'm just fu' up wi*
Hullo, you chaps, I'm fearfu' we've lang o'erstayed
And thae folk, lying yonder, will langer stay I grieve."
76 " GLASGOW CHAPS "
The Seventy First and Fourth had heroes ere to-day,
The Porto Novo " remnant " the band of grim Assaye,
The men of Salamanca and those of Cuddalore,
But we may match our heroes with those who went
And David Baird may swear it. " By gad, upon my
They're just the same old stock, Duke, as your
Who thought the breed would die out John Moore
or was it Coote ?
The tree may die from age, sir, but we can plant the
NOTE. The Seventy-first was originally the Seventy-third.
THE INTELLIGENT STENOGRAPHER.
(To Miss EDITH ONGLEY.)
NOT words alone are by your pencil caught,
Syllabic sounds that find a cyphered change,
And by the keys to typed renaissance brought,
To prove a verbiage surpassing strange ;
Not sound alone but meaning too is trapped
Within your skilful stenographic net,
For where in nebula the phrase is wrapt,
The sense you seize, its cloudy mood forget ;
So when the words in tautologic haste
Pour out redundant to your watchful mind,
THE INTELLIGENT STENOGRAPHER 77
You pass them through the filter of your taste
And lo ! the pleonasm stays behind ;
And though the style be free from sediment,
What you have typed is just the thing we meant.
TO MR. SWEETEN.
THREE hundred thousand trippers in one day !
And from the chaffing, gaping, crawling mass,
The screams and slaps for children gone astray,
The wilful arm around the willing lass,
My fancy towards some lone oasis trips ;
But everywhere the eager vultures swarm ;
The swaying crowd intent on fish and chips,
Would even Heaven's larder try to storm !
But fortune smiles, I find a shelter sweet,
A home of books, the oldest and the last,
And better still, a student's voice to greet
The storm-tossed sailor on his island cast ;
Outside a rush for food and crowded cars,
But here a dreamer looking at the stars.
78 THE FIFTY-FIRST DIVISION
THE FIFTY-FIRST DIVISION.
(To CHRISTINA (CAMERON) BALLARD.)
(" The Highlanders of the 5ist Division are as tough as any
men in our armies, yet some of their officers told me that on
the last lap of their rearguard action they were tired almost to
death ; and when called on to make one last effort after six days
and nights of fighting and marching many of them staggered
up like men who had been chloroformed, with dazed eyes and
grey and drawn laces, speechless, deaf to words spoken to them,
blind to the menace about them, seemingly at the last gasp of
FROM the braes that lift Ben Vrackie, where Tay the
From the sough of steep Dunedin, the spate of Glasgow
Where the muir-fowl call at Cluny, and curlews wail
From the scaurs of Corriemulzie and Castle Slains
They went with swing of Gordon, the song of Cameron
And the Seaforths' stubborn challenge was thundered
out again ;
The Black Watch pipes were timing the tread of the
The chant of Eastern fastness, the drone of the Western
THE FIFTY-FIRST DIVISION 79
What is there left to know them as we knew them
When eyes were flakes of Northern skies, and heather
flamed the cheek ?
The mark of the grave is on them, without the peace of
Which round the men they left behind in pride encom-
It seems a long-drawn year or more, the Wrath it came
When the sky was split asunder and fell like shattered
For the days seemed weeks of Slaughter, the nights
were months of Dread,
Till those who leaned the most on life had envy of their
When the grey waves rolled upon them and splashed
their lines with blood,
The angry lips of spitting guns blew channels in the
And they braved the roaring torrent and dammed it
with their slam,
And when the flood came tearing through, they dammed
it yet again.
Who has the wits to remember, who has the power to
The things they faced for Duty's sake in that immortal
80 THE FIFTY-FIRST DIVISION
Go ask not them who stumbled from the choking stour
The men who have done the utmost may have the least
They fought for the pride of Scotland, what fiercer
pride than that ?
And they fell for Love and Duty and all that these
And the cup of fame remaineth to quench the fiercest
Of those who toast in honour the grit of the Fifty-First.
(To ARTHUR WILSON.)
Lines written on witnessing Colonel Barren's inspired play
" The Story of Telemarche."
THE noon of life throbs on towards the eve,
The shadows point their fingers from the west,
The arm of night flings out a spangled sleeve,
And draws the dying twilight to her breast.
And all the faith the wisest once had spurned,
Can scarce recall one hour that he may rue ;
Like logs that down to ashes cold have burned,
They are not his to call to flame anew.
THE CHOICE 81
Choose well, your choice is brief yet has no end,
Each day we stand before the parting stairs,
The narrow winds where love and wisdom blend,
The broader where are nought but vain despairs.
One, Life in Life, the other living Death
In which we peep at hope through iron bars ;
The worst a laggard's chase in search of breath,
The best a strong man's race towards the stars.
TO MY BROTHER, THE RIGHT REV. JOHN
WALKER, C.F. (AUSTRALIA).
In memory of his eldest son, the Rev. Arthur Dight Walker,
who, at the outbreak of war, joined the combatant forces, and
as Lieutenant in the Manchesters, fell in action.
THE God his forbears vowed on that grim day,
When Hackstone ease foreswore to prove his faith,
And to the moss-hags sped to fight and pray,
And on the scaffold gifted up his wraith ;
The self-same God that through each fretted year
Led on his sires, the Tempter's wiles to face,
This God it was that whispered in his ear,
The pride of Truth, the self-respect of Race.
His father's son, he took the ancient vow
Which bound him to the faith for which they bled ;
And by the altar lifted up his brow
And preached the God which oft his fathers led ;
82 THE RIGHT REV. JOHN WALKER
No bloodless creed inspired his lofty soul,
No bloodless words fell sickly to the pews,
And when his country claimed the manhood toll
He gave his life, while sophists gave their views.
When down the hallowed isle the terror ran,
That Mohawk thundered fiercely at the gate,
No sack-cloth vows a nimble tongue began,
Exempting him from duty to the State ;
He could not deem his vow a thing apart,
He saw God's sky was vaster than His Church ;
Nor did he into sanctuary dart
And leave his harassed country in the lurch.
His creed of Love, the teaching and the care,
The helping word, the manly way with Truth,
He buckled on and humbly forth did fare
To offer us his splendid gift of youth ;
Can this be Death ? The word seems empty here,
Such Faith must live, and Love no change can quell,
So write these words, unsullied by a tear,
" He lived for Love, and in that Faith he fell."
THE HIGHLAND BONNET.
(To IAN ORR-EWING,
Lieut., Royal Scots Fusiliers, afterwards Scots Guards.)
MY heart leaps up, whene'er I hap
Within the camp, on Highland bonnet ;
A plain or dice-board Scottish cap
With tails, and toorie red upon it ;
THE HIGHLAND BONNET 83
The camp dissolves my fancies free
In happy dreams go northward roaming ;
The islands anchored in the sea
All mystic in the tender gloaming !
The burns beneath the moss alilting,
The sea-mews white against the sky,
The hills their skirts of mist akilting !
The peewits' lone bewailing cry !
Would I were there myself to don it,
And stride the braes in Highland bonnet !
My heart leaps up when to my ear
There floats the tongue of Scottish laddies ;
The soldier men who stalked the deer,
Or paced the links as goufin' caddies ;
The scene is changed ; my heart is filled
With songs of Burns, so peerless telling
Of loyal hearts with anguish killed,
The cross of love at love's dispelling ;
In varied moods, the lyrics run
From grave to gay with lightsome changing ;
From sacred grief to ribald fun,
The gamut whole of life o'er-ranging.
Burns sieged the human heart and won it,
The pride of every Scottish bonnet !
My heart leaps up when on the breeze
There floats the sound of pipers chanting,
The droning hum of Scottish bees,
The skirl of warcry fierce supplanting.
The scene is changed ; I hear the lilt
Of crooning wails the gladness stilling ;
I see the swinging tartan kilt
On every field where blood is spilling ;
I hear the pipes swell fierce and loud,
The fearless ranks of Scotia leading ;
Or drone laments above a shroud,
Orphean charms their notes exceeding ;
When pibrochs call the Highland bonnet
Would I were young enough to don it I
THE ENVOYS OF THE DEAD.
(To JEAN BRACE.)
LAST night my dreams were strangely led ;
I saw process with silent tread,
A spectral host, a million strong,
Which swept the empty streets along ;
The grim battalions of the Dead !
Like clouds that chase across the sky,
Like drifting mist they floated by ;
And days and nights flew past untold,
And still the countless squadrons rolled ;
The Grave's majestic pageantry !
My spirit sped on lightning's flame,
Before a lighted hall I came ;
THE ENVOYS OF THE DEAD 85
Where, far as human sight could scan,
My eyes o'er Death's great army ran,
The world's forgetfulness to shame.
Then he who led, before the hall
Did thus to those assembled call :
" Not you alone who may decide,
But we who for the Cause have died,
That ne'er again the Wrath befall.
" Not your sole right to end the fray,
Not those who live to choose the way ;
By all our faith and sacrifice,
You did with promise fair entice,
We witness on this Judgment Day.
" We fallen millions do attend,
The Nation's councils at the end ;
It were a mockery of trust,
If o'er our much belauded dust,
You should our honour sore offend.
" Let not their Advocates begin,
Till Death's stern Envoys enter in ;
The grave's cold, steep descent they trod,
To rise as Hierophants of God,
The doubting ways of Earth to win.
" By those who knew the wrath of Cain,
By precious blood that ran like rain,
By those bereft of all they prized,
By peaceful nations terrorised,
The Terror must not walk again.
86 THE ENVOYS OF THE DEAD
" A promise fair upon the tongue,
May find response the fools among ;
But we whom Death has granted sight
To read the human heart aright,
Would cast their promises as dung."
And then he spoke with simple grace,
A tender light upon his face :
" If one there be who has not shared
The sting of death for those who dared,
Let him keep silent in his place."
As thus the pallid leader spoke,
From this strange dream I swift awoke ;
I seemed to stand on Calvary,
Across their graves my dead I see,
I dare not face if faith be broke.
THE dusk has swung a sickly moon,
A star blinks through the veil of eve
Yet still I feel the hand of noon,
With fevered touch upon my sleeve ;
And echoes of the singing morn,
Are with me in these hours forlorn.
And memories with fervent hands
Reach out and crave a warm embrace ;
I see the footprints on the sands,
And shadows form a friendly face ;
These minister to my content
Though all the happy hours are spent.
Those happy" hours in which I ran,
From height to height towards the stars ;
And though my heart seems cold and wan>
I press my breast against the bars,
Which hold me back from passing through
To where with wings of joy I flew.
TO CAPTAIN E. B. DUDGEON.
WHATE'ER the blood, Latin, Saxon, Romany,
Arab or Kaffir, Mongol, Tartar, Celt,
He comes to all, dreaded " Anno Domini,"
To thin the thatch and widen out the belt ;
But though two-score and ten your attestation,
Sloth found no billet in your manly breast,
You were a Man ! sufficient registration,
When Duty called, you left to chance the rest ;
And so " Impune nemo me lacessit,"
Your Scotland's motto, spurred you to the fray,
And what you did, well I for one can guess it,
You had the Will, stern father of the Way ;
Until with honoured wounds, you came among us,
And largesse of your winsome nature flung us.
88 BRITAIN'S PRIVILEGE
(To MY BROTHER, GEORGE.)
THE father sat in league with thought, beside his stricken
With one son left to him of four, as war's grim
Strange fitful moods of pride and pain were pictured in
As memory attendant stood, each mood to emphasise.
The son looked in his father's face and timidly enquired
" What is this privilege of ours by which your faith
is fired ;
" The birthright of these ragged isles hard bitten by
the sea ? "
And thus the father spoke the son in proud serenity.
" Our ancient Privilege is this, that when a tyrant springs
To bleed the weak defenceless ones, the world's mild
To rise and smite, whate'er the cost, without a thought
And throw before the harpy's claws, a bulwark of
" We bid our sons from kindly ways go forth to cruel
To cut the cords that bind the world with War's
BRITAIN'S PRIVILEGE 89
To cast our dreams away as chaff, the ploys by which
This is the Privilege, my son, of which you heard me
" This is the Privilege we own for all we may possess ;
The lordship over wave and field, and nurtured
This is the duty of our race, to prove the Trust as good ;
To back the Charter of the weak and witness with
" Whate'er the laurels that we prize, the wealth of scrip
The riches that we calculate in council-room and mart,
The vantage of the playing fields ; our all for woe and
We cast into the melting pot and hammer out as
" The languor of the easy-soul'd we rouse to pristine ire ;
The drooping flame of Old Resolve we fan to New
We hold again the ancient truth that crowned us on
Tis better far to fall for right than rot in wrongful
" To call the father old to arms, ere yet the son departs
We never break the troth we swear, though mothers
break their hearts
90 BRITAIN'S PRIVILEGE
To crowd our streets with those who mourn, to scatter
li ves like dust ;
To keep the sword for ever bright, though hearths
with weeping rust.
" This is the privilege we vaunt, hard casted, stern and
That each must give his Freedom up when Freedom
calls to him,
To wander free by land and sea under a freeman's sky,
But if a ravished freedom call, to cast that freedom
" Not all, my son, is Freedom though where Freedom
most is sung,
The tyrant rebel has the word close-fitted on the
He owns no cause except his own ; when we the foe
He buys with Judas coins the blade to stab us in the
" But though the word be prostitute, it's soul will always
The Monarch of the sea-board and the Consort of the
And till the days when Wrath may cease and Peace on
'Twill be our island privilege to guard it with our
BRITAIN'S PRIVILEGE 91
" This is the privilege, we boast ; the Lodge that ne'er is
Where self and self-less sacrifice are strangely recon-
But when its doors you enter in and membership be
Though you have sworn no binding oath, you'd die
for it, my son."
TO H. J. GRESWOLDE-WILLIAMS.
I WOULD not have your heart in mood less kindly,
What matter it, if kindness go astray ?
He who would give, must often do so blindly,
A gift too shy is but the niggard's way.
I would not have you calculate and measure
The meed of charity each hand deserves,
Like some philanthropists who count their treasure,
And chart their gifts with figures and with curves.
I would not have your charity less living,
For fear the grace should Equity disperse,
By taming your impulsive way of giving,
To please some timid pedant of the purse.
You take the risk, and what is life without it ?
He never wins who ne'er the hazard dares ;
If caution speak, well, you with courage flout it,
And sow your seed, disdainful of the tares.
92 THE SCOTTISH FARMER
THE SCOTTISH FARMER.
(To J. MALCOLM BULLOCH.)
I HAD four braw lads and ae weak lad,
An' the croot is wi' me still,
The wife aye sees him cosie clad,
To fane fra eastlin chill ;
And he is a' wha's left tae me,
Fra out the war ayont the sea.
I had four braw lads and ae weak lad,
Till the first-born heard the ca',
I'm proud to ken that he was glad,
Tae be the first of a' ;
He steppit evleit fra the house,
And fell wi' Gordon lads at Loos.
I had three braw lads and ae weak lad,
An' ane was straucht an' fair ;
His ganging made the lassies sad,
He'd sic a gallant air ;
His duty nane need fash to tell,
He dreed his weird at Neuve Chapelle.
I had twa braw lads and ae weak lad,
And ane was glib at tongues,
The scholar's ledder was his fad,
He leppit up its rungs ;
He gang fra out the College Ha',
And met his end at Longueva'.
THE SCOTTISH FARMER 93
I had ae braw lad and ane weak lad,
The stibblert new fra school,
He wi' the sodgers aft wad gad,
An' warnings couldna snool ;
He didna gie his years aright,
But fell a man at Arras fight.
I hae nae braw lad but ae weak lad,
And the wife and I are lane,
An' aft ma heart wi' pride is glad,
And aft it's fey wi' pain ;
The fier branched birks the airts laid law,
But left the clippet tree to graw.
COLONEL NETTERVILLE BARRON, C.M.G., ETC.
COMMANDING THE KING'S LANCASHIRE MILITARY CONVALESCENT
(To CHARLES W. BEDWELL.)
HE took his place as to the manner born,
No mere bravado as his stock-in-trade ;
He turned out Fear, that very sorry jade,
And nurtured Hope, anaemic and forlorn ;
And though sleek Doubt rose gaping in the morn,
He sent him forth to labour undismayed ;
For Doubt alone by action is betrayed,
And learns his own timidity to scorn ;
94 COLONEL NETTERVILLE BARRON
He set the sloth Indifference to hew
The log and draw the water for his scheme,
And digging pits to trap his critics few,
He broke them into running with his team ;
Till on the Tower the flag of triumph flew,
And perfect stood The City of his Dream.
TO MAJOR ROBERT McQUEEN.
(" Nae doot ye're a vera clever chiel, but ye'll be nane the
waur of a bit hangin'." ROBERT MCQUEEN, LORD BRAXFIELD.)
I KEN it fine, it's dour to bear the gree,
An' whiles its honest folk that ca' the trouble,
An' what be richt, we nane are gleg to see,
An' guid intent is aft the smaikies' double ;
An' few can speir ayont their scornfu' gruntle,
As nane can scan the breast wha ken the face,
A' folk are fu' o' pomp and peevish duntle,
Though Truth's a' yin though prent in paraphrase ;
Each struttin' birkie may be fu' o' wit,
Wi'oot the graith to diagnose a man,
An' though they ken the word as it is writ,
The soul ahint they canna understan' ;
I hauld that maist wad swankie graw fra dangin'
And some be nane the waur o' a bit hangin'.
OLD GLORY " 95
" OLD GLORY."
(AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY, JULY 4TH, 1918.)
(To MRS. CHARLES ROGERS.)
TENNESSEE and Massachusetts ! don't you hear a cheer-
ful sound ?
It is Washington and Hamilton a-stirring in the
Illinois and Minnesota ! need you ask why they should
Tis to see " Old Glory " flying when New Freedom is at
Mississippi ! Carolina ! let them hear a joyful stave,
That will send their pulses throbbing through the silence
of the grave ;
And rouse up Abraham Lincoln with the noise of tramp
Just to see as brothers North and South, the breed
New York and Pennsylvania ! they will sleep in peace
When they hear the bugles calling from Kentucky unto
When they know that California has got the thing in
And Connecticut has sworn a vow the same as Mary-
96 " OLD GLORY '
Then the ghost of southern Sherman and the wraith of
And the spirit strong of Jackson may the same proud
If Davis rose with Sheridan, it would flame dead fires
That the New and Old World foemen in a common cause
They are waiting out in Flanders, for the lads of Idaho,
And they call to old Virginia to hasten to the foe ;
By the dead of France and Belgium and by Britain's
Now arise ! Vermont and Texas, to the manning of the
Let us follow with our kinsmen of the Saxon and the
With the pipes of Achnacarry and the harp of Innisfail.
With " The Marseillaise " a-thrilling let " Old Glory "
Just to show we stand for Freedom with the Freemen
of the world.
(Spoken by a Private Soldier, Home from the War.)
(To LEONARD COOKE.)
THE heir to all Creation, Death takes his deathless round^
Recruiting the battalions of the grave ;
He walks, a dread assassin, where cowards may abound,
But comes a regal mission to the brave.
His moods are never sordid ; I well recall the day
I slew for him, though thinking of my race ;
A shard was hurled upon me and wrenched my chance
He looked on me, a proffer of his grace.
And later, in the hospital, his nursing eased my pain ;
He seemed more understanding than the rest ;
So I stretched my hands towards him, but I drew them
back again ;
I doubted oft if what I did were best.
I sometimes sat a-musing and wondered if he tired
Of marching us his sunless ways along ;
Or if the fiends of battle are by his promise hired,
To get recruits from out the young and strong.
He may be bored enlisting the old and sickly ones,
Of sitting up at night to wait their end,
And so he calls the Devil to the forging of the guns,
And bids him to the heart Ambition send.
And when he turned to beauty the face of things un-
And stilled the groans and drove away the fear,
I questioned were it better to volunteer my youth,
Than go to him, conscript, when old and sere.
I prize the lust of living, the earth's enticing smell,
And Love's a thing I hunger for, no doubt,
And if it be my fortune that a maid shall love me well,
I'll strive to keep grim Death the Robber out.
Give me a home well ordered, a wife to share my days,
And children romping round a cheerful hearth ;
Some grist to bring contentment, a life of seemly ways,
And Love as War's sweet scented aftermath.
So when my heart is running behind the pulse of Life,
And when the track has proved my pace as vain,
And things are well appointed for the children and the
I'll list to hear Death tapping on the pane.
Perchance he may remember how I fought him long ago,
And how his wiles with me had seemed to fail.
Then Death may prove, as often, an honourable foe,
And act the gracious host within The Veil.
A GOLF MATCH 99
A GOLF MATCH.
(To MAJOR CHRISTOPHER HEAI.D.)
A DRIVE, a baffy, and a putt,
Opponent missing by a foot !
One up !
A dreadnought, brassie, and a cleek !
Opponent has his ball to seek.
Two up !
Short hole a mashie and then down,
A yard putt missed opponent's frown !
Three up !
A slice, a bunker and a curse,
But my opponent's swearing worse !
Four up !
A pull, but from the worst of lies,
Straight to the pin the rubber flies !
Five up !
A well-timed shot from off the tee,
A fine approach and down in three !
Six up !
Two bunkers next, a caddie's laugh,
But manage to secure a half,
Still six up !
100 A GOLF MATCH
A perfect hole from tee to green,
I, Braid or Vardon, might have been !
Seven up !
Opponent drives into a burn,
I'm down in four, so at the turn,
Eight up and nine to play !
A footling drive, a second vile,
I'm back again to my old style,
Seven up and eight to play !
A square leg pull into the rough,
And then I give it too much stuff !
Six up and seven to play !
A useful drive, a brassie clean,
But four bad misses on the green !
Five up and six to play !
A clean missed ball, a dreadful thing !
Opponent starting now to sing !
Four up and five to play !
A raking shot, a second dead,
The next, alas, I raised my head !
Three up and four to play !
A mighty swipe and then oh zounds,
The ball goes slicing out of bounds !
Two up and three to play !
A GOLF MATCH 101
A jigger from the tee, 'tis done !
The game is mine ! he's down in one \
One up and two to play 1
I cannot count the strokes I took,
Opponent has the half-crown look I
All square and one to play !
A " slow back " drive, eye glued on ball ;
I cannot say where it did fall !
Lost by one hole !
TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL AND MRS. TEMPEST-
In memory of their Son, Capt. CHARLES E. H. TEMPEST-
HICKS, M.C. (French Croix de Guerre), i6th Lancers.
LET Grief observe her liturgy of woe,
Scorn not the tears it is her rdle to shed,
Before the heart has rallied from the blow
And Pride demands an entrance to your dead ;
While Pride may vaunt the Gain beyond the Loss,
Grief is the crouching figure by the Cross.
Let her bewail the mother's stricken breast,
The father's sorrow and the sister's pain ;
In those first hours those sympathise the best,
Who from the words of sympathy refrain ;
102 BRIG.-GEN. AND MRS. TEMPEST-HICKS
Though consolation surge within the heart,
Yet Grief must keep her ritual apart.
But throw your breast's great swinging portals wide,
That she may go at last, her service done,
And give a royal welcome unto Pride,
The fitting advocate for your brave son ;
Let not the parent hearts betray a sigh,
When Pride, the child of Honour, cometh nigh.
Let him declaim the story of his days,
And speak the valour that beset his end ;
Reveal to you the splendour of his bays.
And to his death a deeper meaning lend ;
Let Pride's chief herald trumpet to your ears
Such noble tributes as will scare your tears.
Let Grief depart but Pride remain as guest,
Let him keep guard for ever at your gate,
Lest Grief return to tempt the harried breast,
To find in her the solace for his fate,
Keep ever tryst with Pride, who blazons to his glory
" Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori."
TO HENRY JOHNSTONE 103
TO HENRY JOHNSTONE,
POET, NATURE-LOVER AND FRIEND.
HORACE of garden and Boswell of bird !
Bridegroom of culture and kinsman of song !
Wit at its source was with sympathy stirred,
And tumbles in spate your rivers along ;
Swift as an impulse, consistent as Time,
Brave as a challenge and true as a flair,
Varied as metre, as certain as rhyme ;
Be there but one host, then sit in the Chair !
Humour of elf-land and learning of don,
Leap from your lips like the spray from the font ;
Who will protest that the dreamers are gone,
Children of fancy are dying from want ?
Sprite of the forum and puck of the schools,
Prudent as Hermes and watchful as Pan,
Slow to convention, yet hot to the rules ;
Be there but one guest, then you are the man !
Charm is your passport as Love is your proof,
Tact is your buckler, and wisdom your sword ;
Scared by your presence, there flyeth a hoof,
When we are happy, the Devil is bored !
Modest in reason and winsome in jest,
Silent in sorrow but swift to rejoice ;
A straggler back from the Isles of the Blest ;
Be there but one friend, then you are the choice I
(To ROBERT MUNRO, Secretary for Scotland.)
WHO succours best in Sorrow's aching need ?
Who comes with Faith from Love's enchanted land ?
Who speaks the words that Grief can understand ?
Who bindeth up the sudden wounds that bleed ?
It is the voice of Memory we heed,
Who from the heights the past's dun trail has scanned,
And love's oasis found in desert sand ;
Tis he who plucks the fruit to show the seed,
And takes the thorn from off the rose of Thought,
Till Resignation fanned by friendship's breath,
Is to the warmth of sane contentment brought ;
Where Hope is sure and Love encompasseth,
Through Faith and Memory we bring to nought
The devastation of untimely Death.
TO COLONEL SIR A. LISLE WEBB, K.B.E.,
KNIGHT OF GRACE,
DIRECTOR GENERAL MEDICAL SERVICES, MINISTRY OF
WHERE Chaos ruled a Master hand resolved
To bring to Order all the tangled skein ;
Until a perfect Cosmos was evolved,
And Light flamed forth where Nebula had been ;
TO COLONEL SIR A. LISLE WEBB 105
Where weeds had wantoned, sprang the comely flower,
Where dross had gathered, swept the searching broom,
And Action reigned in all its virile power,
And drove Delay to its unhonoured tomb ;
Thus did The Man prove worthy of The Cause,
Of patient mien, yet resolution strong,
Unmoved by bribes or sycophants' applause,
He makes no sophist's compromise with wrong ;
His gauntlet smites Procrastination's face,
He calls The Joust, a fearless Knight of Grace.
TO COL. H. F. SHEA, D.S.O.,
COMMANDANT K.L.M.C.H. 1918-19.
To this storm-ridden North you came with blood
Fevered by all the blazing suns of Ind,
To drag your tireless feet through floes of mud,
And brace your chest to brunt its waves of wind ;
But ere you knew the Fylde, stern Duty bid
You face the cruel moods of stricken France,
Where worse than Winter's mists the sunlight hid,
Across whose sky leapt more than lightning's glance ;
Where Hell broke through its banks and ruthless cast
Strong men as jetsam at your mercy seat ;
Where Nature, in her wildest moods aghast
Is drenched by blood as she would drench the wheat
In homeland climes, which know but autumn's whims
And feels the rheum of death within her limbs.
106 TO THOSE AT HOME
TO THOSE AT HOME.
(To MRS. WORSLEY.)
THANK God, who keeps your vision blind,
Imagination shuttered tight !
Thank God that He, most wondrous kind,
Lets in the merest chink of light,
That you may not too careless rest
His conscript thought for those away
Where body wracked is Fortune's best
And Death the surest holiday !
Thank God each day for blinkered eye,
Which keeps the Real shut out from view,
Of men who every moment die
In dreadful agony for you !
For those who have the Terror seen
Have failed to snare in words The Thing,
And you who on your fancy lean
But feel the swishing of its wing.
Thank God that Hell seems quite as far
As that sweet Heaven of which you dream
That things seem not just what they are,
But legends told in Academe !
Thank God you see not face to face
That distance doth its softness lend !
Let this then be your daily grace
" Thank God, I cannot comprehend ! "
ON DEATH OF JAMES LOGAN MACKIE 107
ON THE DEATH OF JAMES LOGAN MACKIE,
(LIEUT., AYRSHIRE YEOMANRY.)
(To LADY MACKIE.)
How shall I write of him ?
Oh, for the sight of him !
Down from the hill with the glow on his cheek !
Eyes with the truth in them !
Glory of youth in them !
Forward in action, in discipline meek.
Faithful unto his hearth,
Where ended every path,
Love of the mother and pride of the sire 1
Campbells will dwell on him,
Kennedys tell of him,
Uplands of Ayrshire speak, lochs of Kintyre !
Safe in a house of peace,
Tyranny broke the lease,
Swift came the Raider and found him prepared ;
Emblem of Celt and Scot
Reckless you touch it not !
Rampant the Lyon 'gainst him who has dared !
His, manly breed enough,
Not drifting reek and sough ;
Broke on the lowland path, trained on the scaur !
Knew he the Mackie faith,
Glenreasdell and Corraith,
" Caution and Challenge to waur and to daur ! "
108 ON DEATH OF JAMES LOGAN MACKIE
What need to mourn for him ?
A hero's bourne for him !
Let Pride, not Sorrow, hold court in the breast ;
If Pride in tears be spent,
This be your sad content,
Choosing the way to go, he chose the best !
AN IMAGINARY PORTRAIT.
(To MRS. OLIVER BARING.)
SHE walks with mien discreet and grave,
To sheltered ways her feet are led,
Her eyes no admiration crave ;
She does not flaunt a vagrant head ;
Her lips so free from crude grimace,
Bud shyly on her pensive face.
She could not earn the wanton stare,
Or bait her glance to capture smiles ;
Her ways so comely debonair,
Are innocent of vulgar wiles ;
And when her moods are frankly fond,
They ne'er from gentle ways abscond.
She is not found upon the tongue
Of him who roves with fancy free ;
You do not catch her name among,
The renegades from modesty ;
AN IMAGINARY PORTRAIT 10&
The vaunters of the snatched caress
Who virtue name as passionless.
And yet beneath the placid air,
Her life of dainty circumspection,
Her countenance surpassing fair,
That needs not artistry's correction,
There dwells a nature never coy,
Which leaps in ecstasy to joy.
LlEUT. 3RD ATTACHED 2ND CAMERON HIGHLANDERS
Killed near Ypres, May loth, 1915.
(To HIS PARENTS.)
THERE was a vision in the father's sight,
There was a knowledge in the mother's breast,
That when he fell, the need of it was right,
And what is right, must needs be for the best ;
For what he died, did all the dreams outsoar,
Which from the realms of fancy he had won,
And turned to dust the hopes he had in store
Of peaceful ploy beneath a joyous sun.
And ere he passed, maybe his vision spied
Above the reek and squalor of the fray,
The wraiths of Scotland's pioneers who died,
That pride in freedom should be ours to-day ;
110 GEORGE CADENHEAD
No mere adventure whispered to his zeal,
For what he fought was constant to his view,
Though time a higher purpose may reveal,
For what he fell prove greater than he knew.
The silent pride you felt for him in life,
You keep for him when numbered with the dead ;
With wilful fate you hold no witless strife,
Or face each memory with mournful head ;
Though Sorrow tempteth and though Grief entice,
They have no role in such a fruitful end ;
They would bemean a soldier's sacrifice,
They would his spirit's honour much offend.
'Tis fit you should bemoan his ravished days,
Though you cannot deplore the road he went ;
His grave convictions and his comely ways,
Were such as always brought a sweet content ;
He seemed as one who, in the world's unrest,
Espied the goodness that no phase can pawn ;
The sun descends the ladder of the West,
But climbs the Eastern rungs to light the dawn.
And so within your hearts there will remain
The peace that follows on the reconciled ;
And you will speak of him as free from pain,
As if he slept, by kindest nurse beguiled ;
One consolation will for ever dwell,
His end through duty, not decay, was sought,
And with each brave remembrance you may tell
Of Death which much undying beauty brought.
THE PAINTER'S AIM 111
THE PAINTER'S AIM.
Written after reading an address by James Cadenhead,
(To ARTHUR KAY.)
IT is the painter's mission to present
The beauty he may see with his own eyes ;
His artistry, the craftsman's instrument,
To make the uninformed observer wise ;
And he who judges of the picture's truth,
Let him not say, " This is to fact opposed,"
And then condemn it as a thing uncouth,
And count the whole adjudication closed ;
But let him say, " This painter has a view,
To which my vision has so far been blind,
He urges me to look at things anew,
And keep his vision present in my mind,
For he may to Art's higher duty lean,
The Revelation of a thing unseen."
TO FREDERICK WILKINSON.
YOUR Rule of Three, to think, to know, to act ;
And when you knock at your opponent's gate,
Persuasion is the better part of Tact,
As Tact is brave Persuasion's advocate ;
112 TO FREDERICK WILKINSON
You state your case, credentials then present,
But your most vital evidence reserve ;
You let no clouds obscure the argument,
Or criticism dissipate your nerve ;
If courtly wisdom dominate the scene,
Your sacrifice, may be, a point or so,
But if the atmosphere to combat lean,
You meet the cry to battle with a blow ;
The Lads of Lancashire are all for peace,
But know to strike when reason's methods cease.
l THE WITTENBURG CAMP.
(On an outbreak of typhus, the German Guards and Medical
Officers fled. " Many of the men went so far as to look upon the
typhus, with all its horrors, as a god send they preferred it to the
presence of the German Guards.")
(To THE REV. A. W. R. LITTLE.)
You vomited your spume of Hate,
The sewage of your soul ;
And at each murdered soldier's fate,
You gloried in the toll
Of those you broke and starved and maimed,
Of those you lashed and bled ;
But when the deadly fever flamed,
You, cowards, turned and fled !
THE WITTENBURG CAMP 113
You left the sick to dire decay,
To stumble, rot, and die ;
Till e'en the Devil turned to bay
He saw you crucify !
These men outraged by your decrees,
The flotsam of your shards,
They swore the clutch of foul disease
Was better than your guards !
BRAVE NIGHT AND COWARD MORN.
(To MILLICENT CLIFFORD LLOYD.)
" The letters I had determined are not yet posted. I make
brave resolutions at night, which fade to shadows in the morning.
I am too great a coward, seemingly, to break my bonds. At
night I see things clearly and am heroic enough, but in the
morning the spirit of fight is gone out of me, and I fall back upon
the policy of laissez faire." From the letter of a friend.
COLD-BLOODED Morn ! Stranger to moods impassioned ;
Anaemic Coward ! traitor to the Night ;
Night, who brave words from indignation fashioned,
To arm our shock battalions of the Right.
Words hot with anger, with defiance ringing
For those who dare our proper pride to scorn ;
Words roused by deeds from memory upspringing,
To shame the languid compromise of Morn ;
Words free from Cant and Tact's pragmatic phrases
Let Tact approach, shy Truth is on the wing
114 BRAVE NIGHT AND COWARD MORN
'Gainst some self-righteous pedant who appraises
Our store of worth by his blind measuring ;
Some pinchbeck saint, whose halo is deception,
Who only those that grovel deigns to raise ;
Words that may bring The Real to swift conception,
And rape the smug contentment of his days ;
Or words to scare the ease of some false lover,
Who vows to that one, promises to this ;
Who oft betrays, but treachery would cover
Beneath the faithless fervour of a kiss ;
Brave Night ! which rends the veil from off our vision,
And nerves our speech to fling the words of scorn,
To call an end to doubts with prompt decision,
Ere wakes the spineless caution of the Morn ;
Bold Night ! which bids us tear our bonds asunder,
And loose the cords diplomacy had twined,
Ere morning stir and drive our impulse under,
And with new chains our resolution bind ;
Kind Night ! which points to happiness untainted,
Where wills are not enticed by bagman's coins ;
Where cold Neglect as Trust is never painted,
Nor naked Lies hang Truth around their loins ;
Wise Night ! which swift discerns the base delusion
The cunning leer behind the syren smile,
Which bids us rise and hurl to dire confusion
The cheat who traps our service with his guile ;
Brave Night ! Alas, that bravery so fleeting
Should wake to find its valour all forlorn !
The Will to strike, with heart of courage beating,
Finds at its throat the clutch of coward Morn.
THE LONG TRAIL 115
THE LONG TRAIL.
(A NEW VERSION.)
(To GRACE NETTLEFOLD.)
IT'S a long long trail we've taken,
From the golden gates of youth,
With many a dream forsaken,
And many a childhood truth.
We have climbed and then descended,
We have strove and oft to fail,
And blindly we oft have wended,
And tripped on the long long trail.
It's a long long trail we've trodden,
Since the heart was strong and young,
When our feet with wings were shodden,
And a fearless song was sung.
We have cast old faiths behind us,
Those faiths which were coats of mail,
And creeds which were sent to bind us,
We dropped on the long long trail.
It's a long long trail we've wandered,
And the trail has kept our dead,
And much of our lives was squandered,
On things that cannot be said.
The road that is stretched before us,
May tell just the same strange tale,
But till to the grave they've bore us,
We'll hope on the long long trail.
116 SIR PETER JEFFREY MACKIE, BART.
SIR PETER JEFFREY MACKIE, BART.
(To ANDREW HOLM.)
A HAT unique, an eyeglass, and a jaw
Firm gripped to meet the critics wayward mood ;
An eye to find the very faintest flaw,
In arguments apologists intrude ;
An aspect stern, swift melting into smiles,
A friendly mien that knows to speak you kind ;
A pleasing wit that grave advice beguiles ;
The quick retort of the impulsive mind ;
A man whose courage never once has failed,
Yet who from Caution's breast has ne'er been weaned,
Who oft a beetling cliff of fate has scaled,
Yet ne'er upon another's strength has leaned ;
A man of whom it may be aptly writ,
He'll much forgive but never want of grit.
TO GEORGE MELLOR.
WHO makes a gift with pleasure giveth twice,
And he who gives as 'twere a privilege,
Need never protest make of sacrifice,
He has no native meanness to assuage ;
You do not ask, for your unselfish zeal
In pouring forth the vintage of your grace,
TO GEORGE MELLOR 117
That Gratitude .should follow at your heel,
Or bark its tribute in a public place ;
You are content to know that some sad swain
Has proved a traitor to his discontent,
And made a tryst with kingly hope again,
The wiles of grim despair to circumvent ;
That some poor broken straggler from the fight
Has seen your lamp of welcome in the night.
(To CHARLES TOMLINSON.)
THE Saint is a harnessed sinner ; the sinner a misplaced
And 'tis hard to know the timber till we've blistered off
The finest steel may be rusted, and the twisted hammered
And few are the tags of morals more false than the
words " Too late."
The man who gropes in the darkness may come on the
Judge not the slips of the prentice but the craftsman's
118 MAKING GOOD
A bloom may spring in the quagmire more fair than the
And the strongest soul in battle is his that is " making
There is cross-eyed Bob, the tinker, and that foul-
mouthed tapster Jim,
And blob-nosed Bill, the grocer, and the worm called
Big knock-kneed Jerry Tomkins, and that herring-
And bandy-legged fat Michael, who blasphemes at the
village forge ;
They have never a thought between them, save grub,
and beer, and sleep,
Their morals are like their manners, to make a drover
But when they go as soldiers, there is seldom much to
'Twixt them and the standard heroes not e'en the
oaths they use.
Coarse vizened Charles, the butcher, and Hodge, the
worst of churls,
And that imp of Satan, Sweeney, and Matt, of the greasy
Fat Joe, the " four 'alf " hero, and Philip, the market
And the shovel-fisted Wilson, who lashed at the milk-
MAKING GOOD 119
Dour buck-toothed Platt, the poacher, and that sodden
And the sexton ex-churchwarden, with the breath of a
chronic sot ;
You've heard of the Fifteenth Go-hards, and what they
did in the Push,
Well, these were some of the wasters who led the heroic
Yet it needed a lot of pressing to stir up pock-marked
And Larry Grub, the chandler, swore long he were over
Black Daniel was " conscientious," his brother he could
And the pigeon-chested saddler took some drugs to
make him ill ;
While that swine, young Platt, the actor, he claimed an
Though hair-lipped Taffy Williams, he owned he was
just afraid ;
But when they were called to Service, and the time for
With those of finer breed they took the risks of the
And cross-eyed Bob, the tinker, was as good as Reggie
And Larry Grub, the chandler, gave Dick, the toff, a
120 MAKING GOOD
While blob-nosed Bill, the grocer, more than once saved
his captain's life.
And money-grubbing Tomkins, earned the Cross for his
widowed wife ;
And Joe, the tankard hero, was killed in a German
And Daniel, the crank Objector, got a ribbon from the
For when the curse was on us they went, though they
And they fought as keen as the heroes who went to
prove their views.
What though the cloth be garnered from the rags of a
beggar's shirt ;
The bones be filched from a swill-tub or salvaged from
And the paper grimed by wind-drift and flung on a
The wood be torn from a hoarding or bought at a jumble
Culled for the craft of the miller and flung to the pulp-
They flow forth waves of whiteness, like the mane of
an Arab steed ;
Then on these reams so flawless, are written the words
Though the cradle of things be squalid, the end may
THE ESSENCE OF LOVE 121
THE ESSENCE OF LOVE.
DEAR heart, sweet music from your breast
Wells forth beneath my lover's kiss ;
And yet, oh God, 'tis thy behest,
The secret of the theme I miss ;
The kisses from my fervent lips,
Are but as minstrels' ringer tips.
I strike the lyre with cunning hand,
Sweet harmonies invest my soul ;
Love's technique I may understand,
But that is less than half the whole ;
The secret of the music lies
Beyond the reach of love's surmise.
Oh easy 'tis to laud your grace,
To find a rhyme to fit a smile ;
The colours blending in your face,
Your eyes, sworn enemies of guile ;
And yet the very thing I love,
Is rhymer's cunning far above.
I scan the beauties others name,
The sweet reserve, the tender look ;
Your moods from flicker unto flame,
As children read a picture book ;
But when I further try to go,
A subtle something puzzles so.
122 THE ESSENCE OF LOVE
And that is why I never tire,
I know, but never know complete ;
Like pictures changing in a fire,
Which never seems to lose its heat ;
Safe hidden from a lover's sight,
The spark that set the fire alight !
THE PERFECT DAY.
A GUN in a butt on a Highland brae,
Or a stand by the covert side ;
A stane and a cow on a curler's day,
Or a round near the romping tide.
A cast on a pool I have known lang syne,
Or a mount with the fox in view ;
Then a haelsome bite with a stoup of wine,
And a lass with a wit like you !
TO JOHN BUCHAN.
THE quaich of Scots Romance is yours to hold,
Rich with the bouquet of a vintage year ;
When valour counted more than proffered gold,
And chivalry was honoured more than gear ;
When stern conviction had no bagman's price,
But proved its worth by loyal sacrifice.
TO JOHN BUCHAN 128
And as your cup of rarest grape I drain,
The storied past reveals its golden page ;
I know the mist-wrapp'd wastes, the drifting rain,
The deeds of manhood, guiltless of a wage.
Afront your stage Samoan lights I trace.
Across your boards the feet of Walter pace !
Through Wat to Lewis forward on to John !
The self-same blood still swells our Northern pride
Which lang-syne buckled Ewen's armour on
And Claver's shroud at Killiecrankie dyed ;
Lifted the brow against his savage foes
And made our Scotland's pride, the great Montrose.
IF I with losses dumbly grieve,
Or hide a worry up my sleeve ;
If I feel choked with oaths unhatched
(Which I would love to see despatched
To fools who circumvent my schemes),
The only man who understands, it seems,
Is Whatley !
With Solomon has many links ;
Is blood relation to the Sphinx ;
In vain his anger you may fan it,
His character is carved in granite ;
But if his leg to pull you try,
Just watch the twinkle in the eye
Of Whatley !
He is the god within the car,
Unchanging as the Northern Star !
Come Zeppelin or crack of doom,
He'll knock and calmly face the room,
And though grim Death be o'er our borders,
He placidly will wait our orders,
Whene'er I leave this life of fuss,
I'll be a guard upon your 'bus
From " Charon's Pier " to " Better Land " ;
I know you'd always understand
My point of view, my ribald jest,
My varied moods ; the very best
Is Whatley !
APOLLO IN SOUTH SHORE, BLACKPOOL.
(To PERCY GRIME.)
LET others choose their nightly ploys at will,
A pack of cards, or chance, a billiard cue ;
A Cinema with Chaplin on the bill,
A ball-room floor with One-step or with Two.
Give me, if work be done, a cosy chair,
To stretch at ease a cheerful fire before,
A book and I will make a happy pair,
Apollo doing picket at the door.
At times I tread* the world in Shakespeare's shoes,
The magic slippers that o'erstride the earth ;
From Arden Forest they are damp with dews,
And Attic woods which gave Titania birth.
To Cawdor's fated Castle I am sped,
Where bloody deeds obsess the haunted brain ;
Where every eye seems one great clot of red,
And every heart seems one hot well of pain.
And then with Burns I go by Ayr and Boon,
And stand with lovers at the trysting-gate,
And hear the vows beneath the nuptial moon
Turn swift to sighs that cool the stings of fate.
And as my thoughts on poet's wings arise,
I seek for Keats on his Olympian height,
Who pipes to me his silver lute and flies
From " that unrest which men miscall delight."
And then in sterner mood my fate I pool
And draw the blade with Stevenson and Scott,
And in the thick of fight my fervour cool
With Idylls of the King from Camelot.
A Rabelaisian phase now whips my mind,
With rakish thoughts I run a merry mile ;
126 APOLLO IN SOUTH SHORE, BLACKPOOL
Before my prudish eyes I drop the blind
And smirk with gay Boccaccio a while.
The Comic Spirit's philosophic mien
George Meredith now brings upon the stage,
While Hardy in the twilight dim is seen
To ope for me his tragic Wessex page.
Strange varied moods my authors swiftly hail,
An academic calm by Pater called ;
The sad wild modern notes from Innisfail
Of Synge and Yeats, by ancient bards forestalled.
Homeric floods, loud Odysseyan surge ;
The thunder roll of rugged Tom Carlyle ;
The haunting wail of some old Highland dirge ;
Elizabethan magisters of style !
And then the modern masters of the phrase,
Old " Maga " brings to set at nought the crude ;
While Whibley fitly wears the critic's bays,
Grave foeman of the pert eclectic brood.
Without a method trips my musing whim,
To Prester John on Buchan's pen I go ;
And scorched by flame of Kipling's Eastern Kim,
I quaff the heather ale of Neil Munro.
To by-ways quaint by Lucas I am led,
While Conrad flashes beacons from the sea,
I go where old Virginians have bled,
Allured by Winston Churchill's artistry.
While Barrie weaves his fairy spell around,
And Clouston spins his plots to raise a grin ;
At last with Owen Seaman I am found,
And with a laugh let Punch the jester in.
The clock strikes out the hour to think of rest,
To Dionysus' cup my lips are wed ;
And these immortal ghosts may still infest
The stage of dreams afront my sleep in bed.
(To HARRY GEORGE YOUNGER.)
A BATH at six, the waders and a rod,
A favoured pool, some casts and then a fin !
Or else when fish be shy, to cut a sod,
Or steer a boat, or bring some rabbits in ;
The breakfast o'er, 'tis time to take a gun,
And scramble up the hill to get a brace ;
Then down to tea and, looking at the sun,
We try the river in another place ;
We wind the reel ; though sounds the dressing gong,
Ten minutes we can spare to smite a ball ;
The wine goes round ; to billiards or to song,
And then to bed to wait an early call ;
And so we box the compass day by day,
And drive grim Discontent unto his knees,
And Health revived drives hungry care away,
And saves for Bridge the Undertaker's fees.
On a young officer, age 19 years, of the Argyll and Sutherland
Highlanders, killed in action at Beaumont Hamel.
(To A. FRANCIS STEUART.)
IT seems but yesteryear he ran
And chased the shadows on the heath,
Or paused his breathless ways to scan
The burnies lilting underneath.
But yesterday he climbed the brae,
And knew the muir-fowls' sheltered nest ;
Then down upon the ling he lay,
And drew the summer to his breast.
But yesteryear his laughter rang
Across the many brothered hearth ;
Or fought with tears while someone sang
Of war and young love's aftermath ;
Or, drowsy, nodded while his sire
Read from The Book the promise old ;
His mother dreaming by the fire
A mother's dreams are most untold.
To-day he lies where Scotland bled
On Beaumont Hamel's field afar
A bunch of Highland heather red,
A posy for the Flirt of War.
IN THE WEST HIGHLANDS.
(To MARGARET FRAZER.)
How often, when the drowsy sun had hid
Its head beneath night's blanket in the sky,
There came to me, of day's glad fancies rid,
The mood of sensuous melancholy.
The curlew's sad and strangely haunting wail,
The waves that droned their dirge across the sand,
Gave birth to longings, full of unavail,
And dim regrets I could not understand.
But now the curlew's cry, the ocean's dirge,
Are voices I at last can comprehend ;
For with my sudden grief they fitly merge,
And with my great despair so aptly blend.
My love in Death's embrace so silent lies,
Beyond these hills, beneath a foreign sod ;
The curlew's call the soul's sad lonely cries,
The murmuring waves the changeless laws of God.
130 AFTER MANY DAYS
AFTER MANY DAYS.
(To H. H.)
HE passed from where the flambent rays
Of fleeting passion gild the ways,
And where the flowers of love and trust
Are grey with pollen of the dust ;
He fled the streams whose bitter freight
Drifts tear-stained to the orchard gate,
Wherein the Dead Sea Monster's roots
Feed from salt waves its coreless fruits.
This pilgrim on the paths of love
Had wandered far, nor ceased to rove,
When all the flowers his reach could grasp
Became as dross within his clasp.
Each fledgling hope would brightly gleam
Like cloud-check'd rays that kiss a stream,
Then, as a wraith, would fade away,
Like dream-born joys that scent the day.
He sought out love with guileless eyes
Reflected down from cloudless skies ;
The love too young to own a sigh,
Too blind to see that faith may die.
A heart that asked no price but trust,
And simply loved because it must,
And sought its ends without surcease
Within the pure soul's walls of peace.
AFTER MANY DAYS 131
He sought it where in ecstasy
The whole air piped its minstrelsy ;
The chanters of the feathered leas,
Whose drones are in the breast of bees ;
The chorus of the spinney's choir ;
Bird orchestra of lute and lyre ;
The drum of insects in the grass,
Where far-called runlets lilting pass.
He found it in a maiden blythe,
Whose trusting glance was as a scythe,
With sweeping blade of light, to dart
And shear the weeds that clogged his heart.
Her sun-bathed hair, a picket fire
To guard her soul from base desire ;
Her pure eyes bedded in a blush,
Blue stars that prink a wild rose bush.
The languor of the tired-stained eyes,
Shadowed with doubt and over wise,
That passed him in the city's glare
An epos of the heart's despair ;
Fled from his thoughts when he descried
This golden face so open-eyed,
That called him from their fruitless wiles,
To gather blooms beneath its smiles.
And though her ways were gentler far
Than clouds that court the evening star ;
And though her heart could scarce o'er-reach
The earliest lessons hope could teach,
132 AFTER MANY DAYS
He caught beneath her pansied lids
Moods quick to breathe when passion bids,
And swift conceived his first-born bliss,
Which sprang -to life beneath her kiss.
And then he found why all the creeds
Of soul-less love held barren seeds,
And why the weary restless past
Seemed but as dead leaves flying fast ;
No longer in the thicket dense
He basked in dalliance of sense,
But found his outcast heart at rest
In sanctuary of her breast.
LINES WRITTEN IN MESS,
(i) To AN EGG.
(To EDITH KAY.)
WITHIN the cup you raise your placid pate,
Whose yoke has never known the light of day.
No happy thoughts your end can compensate,
Of hen-run joys or roosters' fertile lay.
Alas ! that you have borne your yoke unknown,
Deep bedded in the shell where you are tucked,
A yoke that some collector might have blown,
Or some expert grandmother might have sucked.
'Twas swift decreed you should not break your hide,
Emerging as a downy covered chick ;
LINES WRITTEN IN MESS 133
But you must go with bacon to be fried,
Or boiled, it may be, harder than a brick.
Or else, perchance, in state of poach to come
Upon a piece of toast so primly laid,
Your metier to keep for ever dumb,
E'en through a " scramble " of the kitchen maid.
One consolation rests with you to-day :
No stricken mother mourns your blighted life ;
No chanticleer rings out its mournful lay
For some fat hen dissected by the knife.
Let this a comfort be for your sad fate,
Ere you receive the egg-spoon's cruel blow ;
You were consistent quite, at any rate
" An egg you came, and as an egg you go."
(2) To A SAUSAGE.
(To LADY NEWNES.)
You lie so placid on my breakfast plate,
And nudge the curly bacon by your side ;
Are you reduced from some fat bovine state ?
Or has the butcher, when he sold you, lied ?
Did you on some rich pasture chew the cud,
Or on some Scottish hillside fling your horns ?
Or, byreward, drag your hoofs through farmyard mud,
The creamy fount of milk, to-morrow morn's ?
Or do you hold the flesh of silly sheep,
Who fleck the braes or nibble on the downs ?
134 LINES WRITTEN IN MESS
Or did you in a pig-stye take your sleep,
Ere pork became for emperors or clowns ?
Or did you vaunt a less digestive flesh ?
The mongrel who frequents the city's slums !
Or he who, when the folds of sleep refresh,
On loving ploys to some fair tabbie comes ?
Did you, rejected from a Remount's drafts,
Find one decide you were not worth your hay ?
Or did you from a squalid growler's shafts,
Towards the fatal knacker take your way ?
Or were you worse than this, the furtive mouse,
That found its doom, sore tempted by the cheese ?
Or rat that in the cellar did arouse
Your host to pay a grim rat-catcher's fees ?
You docile keep the secret in your breast,
As silent as the Sphinx that guards the Nile ;
What can I do but hope on for the best,
And grant to you stomachic domicile ?
MEMORIES BEFORE SLEEP.
(To MY BROTHER, WILLIAM.)
ERE drowsiness turns down the lamp of sense,
And slumber dims the pulsing flame of thought
Ere reason falls from its omnipotence,
And judgment in the maze of sleep is caught ;
Ere wisdom wears the cap and bells of dreams,
And order is to wild confusion cast,
MEMORIES BEFORE SLEEP 135
Before my curtained vision often gleams
A light which guides my vision to the past ;
There I behold, by kind Remembrance led,
My world again sweet-peopled as of yore,
And once again the pleasant things are said,
With subtler meaning than they had before ;
On this reunion has this end ensued
For though I loved, I never loved complete
I love them now in thought's rich amplitude,
Thus Death has served as love's strong paraclete ;
And those who honoured me with friendship's hand,
Which needed not the protest of the lips,
Remembrance draws again to understand,
And serve again in rare companionships ;
Both friends and lovers drawn to life anew
By memory share in this most wondrous change,
They are bereft of all that seemed untrue,
And all that did embitter and estrange ;
Bereft of those poor doubts which scatter dust
Upon the lids of love and dim the sight,
And blight the rose upon the lips of trust,
Till some swift kiss baptised those lips aright ;
Bereft of mean suspicion's sudden chill,
That so invests the ways of love denied ;
Bereft of passion warring stubborn will,
Or heartfelt longing held at bay by Pride ;
Transfigured thus, transfigured I respond,
And hold such sweet converse as deadens pain,
And turn the incomplete, that passed beyond,
To rich completeness, only thoughts can gain.
(Lines written after seeing Mrs. Arthur J. Brown's interpreta-
tion of Arachne, the Queen of Love, in Colonel Barren's mystery
play, " The Three Brothers," played by convalescent soldiers.)
(To KITTY BLACKWOOD.)
THE lights go down, and now unfolds a play
By mummers stranded by the ebb of war ;
Where Good and Evil hold their deathless fray,
For all the souls of those worth fighting for.
See in the under-world Arachne's soul,
With tongue of flame burn through her prison bars,
To range the middle world from pole to pole,
And leap at last to circle with the stars !
A heavy languor weighs upon her lids
Which oft have served the passion of her eyes ;
The sand within the hour-glass dumbly bids
Her fan the spark of pleasure ere it dies.
The heart grown weary of the easeful days,
Leaps up anew to Larcon's tender flame ;
While heated thoughts are bathed by gentle sprays
Of love remembered ere it grew to shame.
And as I look upon her Queenly pride,
Which only Love has humbled to the dust,
I see upon the Nile at even-tide
The sword of Antony all grey with rust ;
And Cleopatra, queenly as the night,
Fling languorous arms around her soldier's neck,
Who sees through mists of his inflamed delight
The Roman Eagle broke upon the deck.
I see the Trojan Helen spread her net
To capture Paris from the wrath of arms ;
And kiss away his warrior's fears, ere yet
Achilles blew the challenger's alarms.
I see the spoils of love in Love's despite,
With blood the couch of Tamar richly clad ;
I hear like pulses throbbing through the night,
The passioned speech of dazzling Shahrazad.
The visions change with every mental breeze,
A gentle zephyr cools the desert fire ;
I see the dulcet heart of Eloi'se,
To Abelard's great human soul aspire ;
I hear the voice of Iseult 'cross the wave,
Cry out to Tristan ere his sun be set ;
I see spring up like shoots upon a grave,
The loves of Aucassin and Nicolette.
Love conquers all : Love shall be conquered too,
If Love be but a means and not an end.
And so Arachne in her passion grew,
The poison in the cup to comprehend.
Twas Pity saved her thus she broke her chains,
Her heart's rich streams were barraged at the source,
And nurtured fertile soil, like summer rains,
Or swept away love's garbage by its force.
The curtain falls, the lights flare up once more,
Before my mind a sudden vision flew,
No longer empty is my Elsinore,
A wizard's hand has peopled it anew I
And when the mummer's mask is laid aside,
I see Arachne as a woman fair,
Calm in the glory of a soldier's bride,
With Love's pure aureole about her hair.
OH God, who sends the combing winds
To loose the tresses of the sea,
Then with a fillet calm rebinds,
The waves in placid symmetry ;
Our mariners from danger keep,
In rough or fairway of the deep.
From sudden gusts which smite The Line,
From black typhoon and ashen squall,
In eddies where the currents twine,
And where the wrecking storms befall ;
Defend our mercuries who leap
Across the hurdles of the deep.
THE MARINERS 139
From felon rocks and siren shoals,
From derelict and floating death,
From bergs that drift from out the poles,
From fire that laughs with fevered breath ;
From dire disease our sailors keep,
And grim miasmas of the deep.
In mazes of the dankest fog,
In choking mists and blinding rains,
In cyclones which the tideways flog,
Tornados and in hurricanes ;
When mistrals on the uplands leap,
Warn well the shepherds of the deep.
When North-East winds with South- West meet,
And spin the whirlwinds on their palms,
Or Thunder, nursed in silence, greets
The coming of a belt of calms ;
WTiere oceans brood or green seas heap,
They keep their service on the deep.
From North to South, from East to West,
Whene'er our human needs arise,
They speed on their unending quest,
These Argonauts of Merchandise ;
That we may live, in pity sweep
The terrors from the fretful deep !
(To MAR j OKIE MADAN.)
IT matters not where they may lay me down,
And turn the sod to make my narrow bed ;
Some green oasis in a squalid town,
Or in some rustic hostel for the dead.
I would no kin of mine should anxious be
To find the fitting place to flaunt a stone ;
There are no graven tablets in the sea,
No sculptured urns amid the jungle known.
And worthier men have found a nameless grave,
And yet their name is Atlas of our pride ;
It were too great Injustice to the brave,
To think o'er-much of where my bones should hide.
But if in death the gift were mine to see
The way my little world moved round my bier :
Give me to hear a foe speak well of me,
And see some lost love mastered by a tear.
And those within whose lives I held a place,
Where I could come, despite all change of mood,
Give me to know they spoke of me a space,
And uttered words which proved they understood.
If things that I had oft regretted much,
Found recollection none upon their speech,
But gave to subtler things familiar touch,
Which I had thought were far beyond their reach ;
If I could know they read the inner me,
However void of anything sublime,
Revealed to me their noble chivalry,
I guessed but dimly once upon a time ;
And best of all, if one with words of weight
Would prove the passion that no change could quell
My Love of Country 1 that would compensate
For all I lost or never found as well.
Content to know that even one aright
Had read the faith which fired my fretted days ;
I would not care, if then forgotten quite,
I wandered on to tread another maze.
GLASGOW : PRINTED AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS BY ROBERT MACLKHO8C AND CO. LTD.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY
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